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LIEE AND EXPERIENCE 



CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

By JOHN SCARLETT. 

OF THE NEW- JERSEY CONFERENCE. 



Neur-Work: 



PUBLISHED BY CARLTON & PHILLIPS, 

100 atll.SEr.RY-ETR F.ET . 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by 
CARLTON & PHILLIPS, 

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern 
District of New- York. 



vs 



£2 

PREFACE. 




In this little volume will be found some 
of the matter that appeared in the " Chris- 
tian Advocate and Journal" of the year 
1849, in a series of articles on " Christian 
Experience/' under the author's proper 
signature. The portions extracted from 
those articles, however, comprise but a 
very inconsiderable amount of the entire 
book, most of which now, for the first time, 
meets the public eye. 

When the writer shall meet his readers 
in the great concourse at the general judg- 
ment, may the memory of what has been 
written, and what has been read, not be 



4 PREFACE. 

accompanied with that sorrow for which 
many immortal spirits are now preparing 
themselves, by sensual and vile publica- 
tions, but be blessed, is the prayer of 

The Author. 

Bed Bank, N, J., May 22, 1852. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER t 

BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE, 



Author's nativity — Parentage — "Wesley — Schooling — Grammar — 
Fancies — Legends — Superstition — Filial affection — Dread of 
war — Timidity — Training — Accident — Somnambulism — Kick 
from a horse — Leaving home — Reflections — Poetry — Reminis- 
cences Page 9 

CHAPTER II. 

STIFLING OF EARLY CONVICTIONS. 

Serious impressions — Desires to be good — Sign-seeking — Praying 
— Apprenticed — Removal to Newark, N. J. — City privileges — 
Country-boy appearance — Hears preaching: Mr. Baird, Mr. 
Powers, Parson Ogden, Dr. Griffin, Mr. Jones, Mr. Lybrand 
— Partial awakening — Dread of ridicule — Prayer-meeting — 
Summerfield. 19 

CHAPTER HI. 

FIRST STEPS TOWARD SCEPTICISM. 

Youthful thoughts not to be overlooked — Scepticism fruit of bad 
conduct — Reached by degrees — Carelessness — Merriment — Neg- 
lect of God's house — Sceptical blindness — Sabbath desecrations 
— Faults of professors— Fondness for fiction — Apprentices' Li- 
brary — British spy— Lorenzo Dow — Court-house meetings — In- 
creased impenitence— Father's death — Grief— Mother's removal 
to Newark — Hardened by sorrow of the world 81 



6 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER IV. 

% SETTLING DOWN IN DEISM — THEN UNSETTLED. 

Doubting and perplexing uncertainties — Eeading infidel authors — 
Married — Love of astronomy — Homer — Poetry — Authors that 
will do to read — Theatrical — Political — Burke and Beattie — In- 
fidel and his wife — Universalism — Young Men's Society — Infi- 
del showing how to die — Property and business — Temerity and 
rebuke — Enmity against God — Opposition to Providence — Let- 
ter from uncle in Ireland — Unsettled in mind by young converts 
—Cholera — Joking — Anger toward Eev. C. Pitman... . Page 43 

CHAPTER V. 

CONVEESION. 

Change of heart of great importance — Alarm of a comet — Speech 
in a tavern — Resolution — Serious thoughts — Abused Bible ex- 
amined — Name of Jesus — Scriptures — Bonnet — Note — Resur- 
rection of Jesus — David Young's explanation — Temperance 
pledge — Saturday night — Despondent thoughts — Tracts — Pit- 
man's preaching — Conviction — Alone wandering in the field at 
night — Portrait — Rejecting false hope — Increased conviction — 
Camp-meeting — Loud laugh of an infidel — First day at the 
camp — Pulled into the tent — Hat gone — Goes home — Tries to 
pray — Second day — Early exercises— Retires with Aaron in the 
woods — Open confession— Sermon at night by Mr, Cookman — 
Third day — Opposition to Methodism — Fasting — Tempted to 
suicide — Prayer of Rev. Yv 7 ". Robertson — Sudden change— Joy 
unspeakable — Irrepressible shouting 61 

CHAPTER VI. 

GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 

Not satisfied to be at ease in Zion — A miracle of grace — Spiritual 
vision — Christ is God— Transports of joy — Testimony lost— Hap- 
py at home by confessing Christ — Breaking a long fast — First 
attendance at love-feast — Joining Church — Sabbath appearing 
new — Swoon — First prayer in public — Opposition from my 
mother — Faults confessed — No business in a political meeting — 
Need felt of holiness — Prayer for it — Language unguarded in 
confession — Fasting — Opposition to it — Simultaneousness be- 
tween justification and sanctification — Profession— Fruits of 
holiness — Helps from preachers and books- -Reflections 93 



CONTENTS. 



7 



CHAPTER VII. 

VISITS TO TAMMANY HALL. 

Preliminary remarks — Piratical vessel— Christian experimental 
testimony superior to logical argument — First visit — Speech of 
Mr. B. Offen — Keply to it — Second visit — Speech by young man 
— Reply to it— Third visit— Speech of B. Offen— Eeply to it- 
Fourth and last visit — Speech in favour of Christianity — B # 
Offen's reply and interrogatories Page 121 

CHAPTER VIH. 

CALL TO THE MINISTRY. 

Preliminary — Class-leading — Relieved of the burden — Resumes it 
— Exhorter's license— Anxiety for friends— Frenchman — Pride 
humbled — Exhortations on the wharf — Man with a jug — Meet- 
ing on the deck of a vessel — First sermon — Advice in reference 
to preaching — Local preacher's license — Preaching — Recommen- 
dations to annual conference — Received finally by that body — 
G-ospel preaching, what it should be — Style— Manner — Elo- 
quence 143 



CHAPTER IX. , 

DEALINGS OF PROVIDENCE. 

Providence a school— Class-meeting — Lesson in it— Visit for sev- 
eral days in Connecticut — Hand of Providence seen on my re- 
turn — Settling of grocer's bill — Extraordinary means in paying 
a debt of twenty-eight dollars — Englishman's guinea — Plainness 
no hinderance to preachers — Poor sick woman— Poor family on 
Saturday night — Letter-carrying business adapted to doing good 
— Money to be used on gospel principles — This world a scene 
of trial— Reflections 172 

CHAPTER X. 

EVIDENCES OF BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 

Truth an uncreated law— Love of divine truth— Truth of divine 
existence— Laws of nature G-od's mode of operation— Conversa- 
tion on a steamboat with an infidel— Tavern keeper's opinion of 
the superior brother — Sceptic reproved by Anno Domini —Weak- 



8 



CONTENTS. 



ness of infidel resolution when properly tested — Infidels unable to 
define true Christianity — The infidel resisting shadows — Cred- 
ulous magistrate — Repeating the Lord's Prayer.. .... Page 193 

CHAPTER XI. 

INCIDENTS AND REFLECTIONS. 

Preliminary — Dead man turned black — Reflections — Acknowledg- 
ment of a fault — Pernicious sentiment cherished by a young man 
— Sent back with a hammer taken without liberty — Companions 
filling graves of drunkards —Discontented infidel — Rich old man 
satisfied with this world— Reflections — Drunkard burned to 

death— Reflections Judgments on the Impenitent-— Infidel's 

conduct in church — His horrible death — Reflections — A suppo- 
sition for an illustration of man's ingratitude to God ....... 216 

CHAPTER XII. 

FRAGMENTS GATHERED UP IN THE ITINERANCY. 

Facts to be observed— 1841, appointed to Rome and Wantage Cir- 
cuit — Hand of Providence — Preaching commencement — Fruits 
— 1842, returned — Rev. R. Launing— Infidel fixtures — Bribe — 
1848, Ordained deacon— Sent to Stanhope Circuit — 1844, return- 
ed — Protracted meeting in a schoolhouse — 1845, ordained elder, 
appointed to Belvidere Station— 1846, returned — 1847, appoint- 
ed to Madison Circuit — 1848, returned — 1849, sent to Mariners' 
Harbour, Staten Island — 1S50, appointed to Allentown Circuit — 
1851, returned — Reflections — 1852, sent to Red Bank — Reflec- 
tions 231 

CHAPTER XIII. 

CONCLUDING REMARKS. 

That children are subjects of spiritual operations— Experimental 
testimony— Methodism the best form of vital Christianity—In 
its doctrines— Ministry— Preaching— Government —Methodism 
in its position— In its origin— Universal adaptation to exigencies 
— Probable consequences— Increase of Christ's kingdom to the 
end 260 



THE 

CONVERTED INFIDEL, 



CHAPTER I. 

BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE. 

How dear to this heart are the scenes of my childhood, 
When fond recollection presents them to view. 

WOODWOETH. 

I was born on the thirtieth day of April, in the 
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and 
three. The place of my nativity was a seques- 
tered spot in Morris County, New- Jersey, where 
the woods often echoed from rocks and moun- 
tains with " the wolfs long howl." My sojourn 
in this my birthplace was brief — not quite two 
years. Although the spot of earth first looked 
upon by my infant eyes has left no pictures on 
the canvass of my memory, yet, in long after-life, 
when I visited, it, it seemed to me that my pe- 
culiar love of woods and. mountain-scenery re- 
ceived in infancy its first impulse. The first 
impressions of childhood are strong and durable ; 



10 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

and this should not be forgotten by parents in 
their endeavours to make impressions upon the 
tender minds of their offspring. Before I was 
two years old my parents, with their two chil- 
dren — an infant brother and myself — removed to 
Pompton township, in the adjoining county of 
Bergen, where I spent fifteen years of my youth- 
ful existence among its wooded hills, vales, and 
plains. 

My parents were poor, but of good moral rep- 
utation : both being in the habit of reading much 
in the Bible ; and, although neither of them en- 
joyed experimental religion, they held the word 
of God in great veneration. I can never forget 
how highly my mother prized the Bible which 
she received as a donation from the " Bible So- 
ciety." How much is attributable to the in- 
fluence of that Bible, under God, as the means 
of her children's welfare, will not probably be 
known until the day of eternity declares it, and 
the final destinies of man are sealed. 

My father was a native of Ireland ; and, be- 
cause of his early religious training probably, 
held ever after strenuously to the faith and forms 
of the Church of England. My grandfather, on 
my father's side, was a native of England, who 
married an Irish lady and settled in Ireland, and 
was visited at his own house by Mr. Wesley a 



BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE. 



number of times during the great Methodist re- 
vival of primitive religion in Great Britain, and 
became a Methodist. My father had thus an op- 
portunity of seeing the founder of Methodism, 
and of hearing him preach. I have heard him 
describe the person of Mr. Wesley, and fre- 
quently remark, that " while Mr. Whitefield was 
the more eloquent in the delivery of a sermon, 
Wesley was the more fluent and mighty in the 
Scriptures." 

My father emigrated to this country in the 
year 11 93. He landed in the city of New- York, 
after a voyage of ten w 7 eeks — quite a long- 
voyage when compared with the time to make 
one now by Atlantic steamers. He was in the 
city of Philadelphia during the rage of the yellow 
fever there in that year, and was bereaved of an 
elder brother suddenly by it, who had preceded 
him in making a home in this land of freedom, 
and was an attraction here that led my father 
from his early home. The loss of a beloved 
brother had a melancholy effect upon him. He 
often spoke of this sad event — of his bereft and 
lonely state in a land of strangers — with fast- 
falling tears. My father was acknowledged by 
those acquainted with him to possess talents, in- 
formation, and agreeable manners. He was 
often called upon by his neighbours to give 



12 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



counsel on points of law, to write wills and deeds, 
&c, and to read the Scriptures at the bedside of 
the sick. His chief occupation, during the latter 
part of his life, was teaching school. In this 
business of training the youthful mind, and 
starting it on a journey that will never end, he 
was deemed competent and successful ; and 
would have been more so, but for causes in his 
habits to be deplored, over which I would drop 
the veil with a tear. 

My mother held to the Dutch Reformed 
Church ; and, with the consent of my father, had 
her four children (of whom I am the eldest) all 
christened by a minister of that denomination. 
She was industrious and economical, and did 
much for the good of her children. With un- 
compromising perseverance she strove, in honest 
labour and toil, to rear a family of children, 
which consisted of four sons and one only 
daughter. 

Before I was thirteen years of age I received 
most of the schooling I have ever had ; and this 
was at long intervals, under the tuition of my 
father, who, at times, taught in places too distant 
from home for me to attend. My education was, 
therefore, "finished" in two additional quarters 
of " night school," and I was forced to " grad- 
uate" with but a slight knowledge of reading, 



BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE, 



ia 



writing, and arithmetic. English grammar I 
was never systematically taught, and the lan- 
guage used by my associates was very imperfect, 
being a mixture of corrupt Low Dutch and bad 
English. I had many strange ideas that should 
have been corrected. Some of the hills, in the 
vicinity of my early home, I looked upon as 
mounds or monuments thrown up by a race of 
huge giants that once peopled this country, to 
perpetuate the memory of their dead. That 
bird of night, the whippowil, whose doleful 
notes I heard when but a child three years old, 
held up for the purpose in my father's arms, as 
near by in the woods it would haunt our dwell- 
ing, I viewed as a messenger from the land of 
spirits to warn men of some coming direful 
event. Even unto the present I dislike the 
music of that tonguelesa bird. The croaking of 
innumerable frogs in early spring, I took to be 
the noise of the galloping of horses, over flat 
rocks. A watch and a gun I concluded to be- 
long to the thinking race. This appeared to mc 
quite evident from the nature of their operations 
and performances. Witches riding on broom- 
sticks through the air, on moonlight nights, 
formed a part of my creed ; and ghosts and hob- 
goblins were often in my " night thoughts " and 
also in my " day-dreams." 



u 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL, 



Such fancies, I have reason to believe, received 
a kind of nourishment and strength from the 
legends and fairy tales about " Irish wakes " and 
the " Banshie," related often by my father, who 
loved to have his children about him, pleasing 
them with many a marvellous story brought with 
him from his native land. On summer evenings 
he would sit under the tree before the door, 
smoking his pipe, with closed eyes, telling us of 
wild adventures, and " hair-breadth 'scapes," and 
ghostly sights, until the place would almost ap- 
pear alive with " face-thronged visions." How 
much wrong there was in all this is probably 
not now to be known. It kindled up the young 
imaginations of the children, and was in the father 
a strong attraction drawing them toward him. 
The powers of imagination in the children 
doubtless were strengthened by the activity in- 
duced. Children are fond of the marvellous, 
and such fondness is sometimes realized in the 
fruit of seed sown early, through all the after- 
stages of life. The imagination should not be 
neglected, to run wild; it should be properly 
cultivated. Superstition, however, with every 
deviation from moral and Scriptural truth, ought 
to be avoided with care by parents, in their 
familiar intercourse with their children ; for many 
are the unnecessary fears and frights, and ner- 



BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE, 



15 



vous agitations, experienced by those who, while 
young, have had their minds injuriously wrought 
upon by story-tellers, in their relations of signs, 
ominous tokens, haunted houses, witches, and 
ghosts. 

I was a puny child, imaginative and timid, 
and loved my father with filial affection, and 
placed unbounded confidence in his ability. On 
all occasions, when danger seemed to threaten, I 
flew to him for relief. When I was sick, he 
alone was the physician that could cure me. In 
dark and stormy seasons, when he was absent, 
my mind was gloomy beyond description. How 
fearful to me was the day fixed upon by the 
noted impostor, " Hughes," as the period in which 
the world was to be burned ! How sad was I, 
on the morning of that day when it arrived ! 
Then how confidently did my father assure me 
there was no truth to be relied on in the impos- 
tor's prophecy ! The reliance I placed on my 
father's word in this matter was all that bore me 
up until the day was past. 

The second war in which our country was in- 
volved with Great Britain had also an alarming 
effect upon my tender mind, as I heard frequent 
reports, from time to time, of its operations and 
progress. The appearance of the soldiers in 
their regimental uniforms- — their bright sashes, 



16 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



nodding plumes, and glittering steel — while 
drafting men and enlisting recruits for the regu- 
lar army, amid the music of the " stirring drum " 
and " ear-piercing fife," under the banner of 
stripes and stars ! all filled me with trembling 
and dread. Then I hung upon my father's 
words about " the war," as though they had 
been oracles. I wished for peace. When other 
children of my age would run to where the 
soldiers were gathering, I would shrink away and 
hide myself. Once, after the war was ended, I 
was induced to go to a " general training ;" and 
as I, with a number of persons of both sexes, 
was approaching the parade-ground, I heard the 
report of a gun, and saw the white cloud of 
smoke rise from a point in the training ranks, 
instantly a young lady near me fell, the blood 
gushing from her temple. She was caught in 
her fall by a gentleman walking at her side. It 
was an accident ; and a buckshot was cut from 
the scalp, not having penetrated the skull, and 
she soon recovered. This circumstance made a 
strong impression on my mind, and gave me a 
dislike for firearms. I have never yet owned a 
gun. 

My timidity, I think, has been owing, in some 
degree, to a constitutional nervous weakness, 
which showed itself often in frightful fancies and 



BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE. 



17 



disturbed sleep and dreams. I frequently rose 
out of my bed in the night, and walked abroad 
in my sleep. I have walked in this way hastily 
over ledges of rocks, watched by my brothers, 
not at all conscious of danger. The clouds, 
it seemed to me, could I have reached the tops of 
them, were as permanent a place to walk upon 
as the earth. I could recall, when awake, the* 
feelings I had during the state of somnambu- 
lism. I was cured of this complaint, by having 
my feet bathed in hot water while in the par- 
oxysm. 

Every incident occurring in youth, with every- 
thing calculated to arrest the early attention, has 
a lasting effect upon the mind. Then sympa- 
thies and antipathies are formed, possibly never 
to die. When but a small boy, I received a 
severe kick from a horse in the breast, leaving 
me in a state of stupor, bordering on death, for 
some time. I never after could have a liking for 
horses, and have never owned one, and probably 
never will. 

The scenes of my early life, though marked 
with regretted sins, are still dear to my recollec- 
tions. " The cot of my father," that stood upon 
the mountain's sunny side, with its rude unplaned 
clapboards and roof — its chimney of lath and 
clay — its large fireplace, in the corner of which I 
2 



18 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

have often studied my lesson — and the uncar- 
peted floor and rude furniture— I delight to re- 
member ; and I love to dwell on 

MY EARLY MOUNTAIN-HOME. 

I sit and view, by memory's liglit, 
My mountain-home of early days — 

Each pleasing scene of young delight, 
And all on which I used to gaze : 

That cottage, nestled 'inong the trees ; 

That sloping green before outspread ; 
That green vine, trembling in the breeze, 

Which canopied that humble shed. 

From crag and cliff again I view 
That pleasant country-scene below : 

Here winds the river, deep and blue ; 
And there the rippling streamlets flow ; 

And yonder stands the mountain-green, 
With sky of beauty bended o'er it, 

Bordering the rural scene 

Which sleeps in smoky light before it. 

The robin's song at morn I hear, 
As when on boyhood's ear it fell ; 

That song to me was ever dear, 
Fresh-breathed from wooded grove and dell. 



STIFLING OF EARLY CONVICTIONS, 19 



CHAPTER II. 

STIFLING OF EARLY CONVICTIONS, 

Will not the things of the present world, which sur- 
round children on every side, naturally take up their 
thoughts, if talked over to them, and set God at a greater 
distance from them than he was before ? — Wesley. 

I have had spiritual convictions, to a greater or 
less degree, even from my early childhood. 
When but six years old, I had impressions of sin- 
fulness and guilt. Seasons of seriousness, from 
the operations of the Holy Spirit upon my young 
mind, gave me warnings and fears, in view of the 
future, urging me to repentance. True, I had 
not a perfect understanding of the causes of my 
sorrow ; but I desired, when I should die, to go 
to heaven with the good and happy. Many 
times I went away alone, and wept in bitterness 
of spirit, when I could apprehend no other cause 
than that I was wicked, and wanted to be good. 
My crying and sobbing, on such occasions, were 
irrepressible ; and I would go alone, for the pur- 
pose of giving vent more fully and freely to my 
feelings. There was no one to sympathize with 
these early sorrows. Experimental religion was 
not professed by any one that I knew. When, 



20 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



sometimes, my weeping and anguish of heart 
would be detected or suspected by my appear- 
ance, I have been roughly interrogated on the 
subject. On one occasion, an old man, a neigh- 
bour, much given to story-telling and profane 
swearing, met me, and said : " Boy, I have heard 
about your great troubles ! Your crying will do 
no good. I know what ails you : you think of 
things that you had better let alone. I was just 
so myself once, when I was a boy ; but I have 
not been troubled, in thinking of dying and the 
other world, and all that sort of thing, for many 
a day. And, after a while, you too will get over 
your foolishness, and not bother your brains any 
more about such things." O, what advice was 
this to give to a penitent child ! No doubt he 
talked to me from his own experience ; and, it is 
quite likely, he was not again troubled in his 
feelings, until too late to be at all profitable to 
him. I have often thought that if some kind 
Christian had then taken me by the hand, and 
led me to the cross, and pointed me to Him who 
said, " Suffer little children to come unto me," I 
should have obtained " grace to help in that time 
of need and my young heart would have re- 
ceived the Christian stamp, and my soul been 
comforted in my affliction. I might have been a 
Christian from my youth, had I early been in- 



STIFLING OF EARLY CONVICTIONS. 21 

structed, as children are now taught, in our Sab- 
bath schools. 

The Holy Spirit employed means in the work 
of my early convictions. Although I had no 
Sunday school to go to, nor instruction from relig- 
ious persons, I read the Bible, and had a reten- 
tive memory. From the u Child's Instructor," a 
small school-book, I received good impressions. 
In a primer, containing a representation of the 
burning of John Eogers, the pious martyr, I read 
some powerful warnings and incentives to early 
piety. Christ, Youth, Satan, and Death were in 
it personified in the form of holding a dialogue 
on the subject of the necessity of religion. The 
liability, on the part of youth, to continue sinning 
against God until death, was set forth before me 
in strong light ; and I was so overcome, at the 
time of reading the colloquy, that I trembled 
with awful apprehension, and made a promise to 
my heavenly Father that, if he spared my life, I 
would repent and be good. I prayed to him to 
keep me from Satan. It was a long time before 
my seriousness wore away. 

On all occasions, when I feared the displeas- 
ure of my parents, or dreaded danger of any sort, 
I would pray to God to regulate matters to suit 
my convenience. When I had been in mischief, 
I prayed for forgiveness ; when I had lost any 



22 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL, 



one of my play-things, I prayed that T might be 
enabled to find it ; when it thundered and stormed, 
I prayed it might soon be calm and clear again ; 
and I was anxious in " seeking after a sign " con- 
cerning my future destiny. Once, while I was 
fishing alone, I prayed for a sign thus : " O Lord, 
if I will at last be saved in heaven or lost in hell, 
I would like to have some token of it now. If 
the first fish I catch shall be a bass, I will take it 
as a good sign ; if any other fish, a bad one." I 
trembled at the issue, as I dropped my line into 
the water. At length I had " a bite," and drew 
up, sure enough, a bass — but it fell from the 
hook before it reached ray hand. I concluded 
God would not give me a sign, and strove to be 
satisfied without one. The Holy Spirit gave me 
a desire for a knowledge of " things to come ;" 
and my reading and praying, though in much, 
darkness, tended to continue in me the sensibility 
of conscience; and, for a time, my convictions 
increased with my years. I came very near be- 
ing drowned, on a certain occasion, which in- 
creased my anxiety of mind on the subject of my 
soul's best interest. 

As the demands of a large and growing family 
pressed hard upon my parents, I got consent of 
my father, when about thirteen years old, to go 
and live with a neighbouring farmer, and do such 



STIFLING OF EARLY CONVICTIONS. 23 



work for him as I was able. I remained with 
him several years, and acquired habits of industry 
that have had a salutary effect upon my consti- 
tution. The rugged realities of life I cannot con- 
ceive to have been of disadvantage to me, yet I 
did not improve them as I might have done for 
future good. 

I had not long left the restraints of my paren- 
tal home, before I was led away from all serious- 
ness by the perverted tastes and sinful amuse- 
ments of the young around me. From Mocka- 
pin to Wynochy, from Ringwood to Pompton 
Plains, on holiday occasions and training days, 
dancing, drinking, gambling, and fighting were 
made the means of spoiling young hearts, and 
ruining immortal souls, to a degree beyond cal- 
culation. Thus it was, at least, during my sojourn 
in those parts: and, although I never publicly 
danced, yet I was often drawn, by the attractions 
of the fiddle-bow and nimble heels, to join in the 
carousals, and remained until morning came be- 
fore sleep. How natural to forget God under 
such circumstances ! 

Ever since I was made a subject of converting 
grace, I have thought much on the scenes through 
which I passed while young, with companions in 
vice, on festive occasions. I shall not see many 
of them again, until we meet at the great tribunal. 



24 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



It was in the spring of 1820 that I left the 
community where I spent my school-boy days 
with mischief-loving companions, on foot and 
alone, travelling some twelve miles in search of 
an opportunity to learn a trade. I found a man, 
to whom I was bound to be taught the shoe- 
making business. He had then two apprentices, 
with whom, and myself, he removed, in two 
weeks after, to Newark, New Jersey, where I 
lived with him four years. On the 17th day of 
April of that year I first saw Newark. It then 
contained about five thousand or six thousand 
inhabitants. I thought it then a most delightful 
place, and have never yet altered my mind. The 
term of my apprenticeship was, on the whole, not 
disagreeable to me, but an important period of 
my life. 

Situated as I now was, in the enjoyment of 
privileges to which I had before been a stranger, 
I was led to think that God had directed my 
steps to such a place of piety and good morals, 
and that he did, in reality, still care for me! 
Though recognised by the more favoured to be a 
" country boy," from my " green " appearance, I 
soon became acquainted with the neighbouring 
apprentices, and with them, on Sunday evenings, 
would "go to meeting " — sometimes to one 
church, and then to another. My father had 



STIFLING OF EARLY CONVICTIONS. 25 

given me strict orders to attend worship in the 
Episcopal Church, often telling me that that was 
"the true Church." For some months I contin- 
ued to frequent that place of worship; and can 
yet call to mind occasions when I listened to the 
preaching of the Rev. Mr. Biard and the Rev. 
Mr. Powers. I remember also the venerable ap- 
pearance of the Eev. Uzal Ogden,* I next went 
to the Presbyterian Church, and heard the Rev. 
Dr. Griffin, that strong man of God. His powers 
of description and appeals to the sinner, on some 
occasions which peculiarly called them forth, can 
never be forgotten by those who once were 
favoured with hearing him. The Baptist Church, 
too, I attended, and heard, with moved feelings, 
the Rev. Mr. Jones, that good old man. His 
solemn prayers, offered in tears, greatly affected 
me. Just before I reached the age of eighteen, 
I ventured to go and hear Methodist preaching. 
The Methodists my father and mother agreed to 
dislike; and, for fear I should chance to go 
among them, had thrown many discouragements 
in my way. However, I was determined to go 
and hear for myself. The Rev. Joseph Lybrand 
was the first Methodist preacher I ever heard 
preach ; and never before, under preaching, had 

° " Parson Ogden " wrote an able reply to the " Age 
of Reason." 



26 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



I felt as I did under his. I can yet distinctly 
recall his appearance, as he stood in the high 
pulpit of the old " Chapel " in Halsey-street. 
His heavenly countenance — his hair of glossy 
smoothness lay close over a forehead of finest 
mould, and his eyes were placid, yet lustrous — 
the general expression of benignity that played 
through all his features, and the changes in his 
countenance which the excitement of preaching 
would produce, I can never forget. "The first ser- 
mon I heard him preach made me tremble and 
weep. It waked up in me thoughts of the past. 
Convictions when a child, dangers escaped, and 
the forbearing mercy of God, all rushed at once 
into my mind. The next time I heard him was 
on a Sabbath evening; and I believe it was his 
last sermon in Newark — his "farewell sermon." 
In it he dwelt principally on the awful scenes of 
the final judgment. I wept bitterly, but concealed 
my emotions as much as possible. On the same 
night I dreamed I saw all nations coming to 
judgment, and standing before God, in two great 
divisions — the good on the right hand, and the 
bad on the left. I saw, in my dream, heaven 
and hell, and was exceedingly terrified. In the 
morning I remained longer in bed than my fel- 
low-apprentice, in order to try to pray. When 
I was alone in the room, I arose, and bowed on 



STIFLING OF EARLY CONVICTIONS. 2Y 

my knees before God. My heart was tender, and 
I was glad that I had resolution to pray. That 
morning rose on me with a poetic pleasantness 
I delight still to remember. My desire for keep- 
ing all this a secret weakened my resolution ; and 
when ridicule came I was not prepared to bear it. 
In a few days I gave up striving to be good, re- 
sisting the Spirit, and doing violence to my own 
conscience, just because other boys would do so. 

Apprentices, in large manufacturing cities, are 
in great need of being properly cared for by the 
religious portion of the community. They oc- 
cupy an interesting stage of human life. They 
need watching and encouragement for good. 
They have many temptations to evil, and are 
easily spoiled. And who are the apprentices in 
our country ? Those who will soon, with the 
rest of the labouring men, be the "bone and 
sinew" of all its wholesome institutions. Ap- 
prentices are soon to be the business men of the 
nation. Having an eye to their welfare, is a 
watchful effort made in time, with a good hope 
of future good to the nation. Let not honest 
labour at a trade be despised. Any man who 
may have arisen to what he may deem a more 
favourable situation than the labouring with his 
hands for a livelihood, if he thinks mechanics or 
apprentices beneath his notice, is more deserving 



28 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



of being despised than their occupation, by which 
he is himself sustained. "Man's life consisteth 
not in the abundance of the things which he pos- 
sesseth and the " common people," more than 
any other, heard Jesus "gladly." In Newark, 
New-Jersey, mechanics and apprentices have al- 
ways been recognised as holding an important 
place in the community ; and I hope it will be long 
before it shall be otherwise in that city, so noted 
for piety and good morals in its permanent popu- 
lation. I have cause to be thankful that I ever 
lived there ; and had I improved my privileges 
more during my apprenticeship than I did, I 
would have reaped many advantages from those 

" Long-lost hours I mourn, 
Never, never to return." 

I was in the habit of attending prayer-meetings ; 
and on one Sabbath evening, having ascertained 
that there was to be a Methodist prayer-meeting 
in a private house in the neighbourhood, I deter- 
mined to separate myself from my wild com- 
panions and go to it. After singing a hymn, 
the man who took the lead of the meeting said, 
" Let us all kneel down and pray ;" and they all 
but myself kneeled. Finding myself the only 
one sitting, I, too, assumed a kneeling posture. 
Trembling instantly fell upon me from conviction. 



STIFLING OF EARLY CONVICTIONS. 29 

This feeling increased during the meeting. Af- 
ter it was closed, a Methodist man followed me 
to the door, and with great tenderness besought 
me not to stifle my convictions. How he knew 
my state was a mystery to me ; but I loved him 
much for his faithful dealing : and long after, I 
thought of him with no common degree of 
friendship, though he himself became a back- 
slider. 

During the year, I think, of 1822, I heard two 
sermons preached by the Rev. John Summer- 
field — both in one day ; in the morning in the 
" Old Chapel," in Halsey-street, and in the even- 
ing in the " First Presbyterian Church," in Broad- 
street. In the morning, the house could not hold 
near all the people. I was in the gallery at an 
early hour. Mr. Summerfield had a youthful 
appearance, and yet he looked as though his 
heart and head had "far outgrown his years." 
He said in the commencement of his sermon, af- 
ter a solemn pause, in which he looked down 
upon a mother in the congregation, with her 
noisy child, " If that child cannot be kept still, it 
must be taken from the house." His sermon 
was simple, and easy to understand. It was de- 
livered in apparent sincerity, and with ease. 
While listening to him, I longed to be like him 
in everything. 



30 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



In the evening, I was at an early hour near 
the pulpit, in the gallery of the large church, to 
hear him again. The house was soon filled, and 
he made his appearance in the pulpit. On either 
side of him sat an aged minister. He took his 
Hymn Book from his pocket, and read a hymn. 
It was announced by one of the choir that the 
hymn could not be found — -it was not in the col- 
lection. Instead of Mr. Summerfield being em- 
barrassed, he turned to the ministers in the pulpit, 
one of which was the pastor, and said : " Pardon 
me, kind friends, for not thinking of this. I should 
not forget that this evening the Methodists wor- 
ship in a house opened for them by the kindness 
of a sister Church. Let this be remembered, — 

" 0, for this love let rocks and lulls 
Their lasting silence break V 7 

This occasioned much weeping in the congre- 
gation. A book was handed to him, and he 
went on with the exercises. The influence of his 
preaching upon me was for a time felt; but 
pleasures and amusements, or natural inclinations, 
soon were sufficient to drown my religious con- 
victions. 



FIRST STEPS TOWARD SCEPTICISM. 



31 



CHAPTER III. 

FIRST STEPS TOWARD SCEPTICISM. 

There is a wilderness more dark 
Than groves of fir on Huron's shore — 

The frightful wilderness of mind. — Osboex. 

Thoughts indulged, words spoken, and deeds 
performed in youth, all go to weave that web of 
character which the soul will have wrapped about 
it to wear forever. Of the divine inspiration of the 
Bible, and the truth of the Christian religion, I 
never had any strong doubts until I had resisted 
the influence of goodness and truth, and pursued 
a course of thought and conduct manifestly bad. 
Such doubts, when they came, were not the 
offspring of the love of truth, but of the " love of 
darkness." 

If men could thrive in real excellence of 
moral character, as they advance in doubt, going 
on step by step in scepticism, toward the dark 
night of infidelity, they would, indeed, throw 
Christianity into an unenviable predicament, there- 
by proving it to be the opposite of all moral ex- 
cellence. The reverse of this is the case. Doubts 
respecting revealed truth can never in an honest 



32 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



heart be entertained with satisfaction. True, the 
Christian may be oppressed with doubtings, from 
which he seeks deliverance; and the more he 
turns his attention and his efforts to what is 
manifestly good, the sooner deliverance comes to 
him. 

The steps that led me, by degrees, into scepti- 
cism were not at the time known to me to have 
such a tendency. Although I had never ex- 
perienced religion, still I had felt that I ought to 
be " a follower of that which is good." I had 
never determined not to be such a follower ! 
The way I pursued was a way of u erring from 
the truth." It was pursued in wild wanderings 
on the barren mountains of sin and folly, by 
carelessness, that "snare of the devil." How 
many, alas, are destroyed in youth by careless- 
ness ! 

In my growing disregard for eternal things I 
was not alone. The humour of my fun-loving 
associates, while it strengthened me in pursuing a 
careless course, evinced that they also were in 
the "same condemnation." Our influence upon 
one another was mutual, keeping us in the 
downward road, by singing each other asleep 
concerning the care we should have felt over our 
souls' best interests, in the ominous words of the 
song,— 



FIRST STEPS TOWARD SCEPTICISM. 



33 



" Begone, dull care / 

I pray thee, begone from me." 

"Two cannot walk together except they be 
agreed ;" and young people have their influence, 
as well as older folks. It goes from them in 
every direction, like insensible perspiration, and 
it must tell for either good or bad through all 
duration. And an influence to be exerted upon a 
young heart is no trifle ; it is like putting a seal 
to warm wax. An impression then made is often 
carried in its effects through life into eternity, to 
await the test of the final judgment. 

As I began to absent myself more and more 
from the places of public worship on the Lord's 
day, I had less and less fears about the probable 
consequences of sin. In fact, sin soon began to 
appear to be not so horrible a thing after all. 
It wore by degrees a more favourable aspect. 
Was not God, under some circumstances, I 
asked myself, willing for man to indulge his 
natural sinful appetites and passions ?' I soon 
began to discuss questions in my mind, with 
seeming composure, that a short time previous 
would have made me tremble. Having heard 
from the pulpit that "the more truth sinners 
hear, while not yielding to it. the worse they 
become and that ministers were " a savour of 
death unto death to those who heard them, and 
3 



34 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



still rejected tlie calls of saving mercy," I wrest- 
ed such truths to my own injury, and held on to 
" an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the 
living God." They who attend regularly to the 
preaching of the word, should do it in sincerity, 
for their souls' good ; and then they will have 
thrown around them a wholesome guard, which 
makes their condition better, certainly, than that 
of those who wilfully decline hearing the gospel 
preached at all. True, they will not be saved by 
the mere form, without the power ; but they are 
more likely to become the subjects of saving 
grace, by such attendance on means, than by 
the want of it. Doubts of a pernicious character 
will soon poison the heart and darken the mind 
of such as disregard God's house and the or- 
dinances that belong to it. 

A want of due observance of the holy Sabbath, 
coupled with its desecration, was another evil 
step I took toward the gloomy region of scepti- 
cism. Although I never for profit laboured on 
the Sabbath-day, I was not guiltless with respect 
to its violation. At first I felt quite ill at ease in 
the employment of the sacred day, in walking 
the streets and rambling where duty did not call 
me; but after a while I could manage to calm 
my conscience with the plea that walking for 
diversion was not pursuing " any manner of work." 



FIRST STEPS TOWARD SCEPTICISM. 35 



In this I met the concurrence of companions in 
sin. Y\ T e strengthened each other's hands in 
pursuing what God had forbidden. Sabbath- 
breaking is a sin of vast enormity. It grieves 
the Spirit of God, and, therefore, hardens the 
heart. It greatly hinders the free course of 
God's word preached. It disturbs the quiet of 
community, aids intemperance, and adds many 
victims to the calendar of crime. It prepares the 
heart for doubting the truth of the divine word, 
and often calls down signal judgment upon the 
heads of obstinate offenders. 

Looking with an evil eye upon the faults of 
professors of religion to form excuses for my own 
bad conduct, was another step in the science of 
doubting those truths that support the Christian 
faith. Some professors of piety I was acquainted 
with, who came short of Bible requirement ; and 
some I knew who had backslidden from true 
religion, apparently. Such characters I so viewed 
as to make their cases help me on in my scepti- 
cism. Looking at what I condemned as wrong, 
I made it the pretext for my justification in re- 
jecting what was right. I should have said, 
" You faulty Christians ! your deviations are not 
as good as what you depart from: I, therefore, 
will deviate from your course, and cleave to what 
you profess." Or to the backslider, " Your former 



36 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



integrity was better than your present treachery 
to the cause of God : I, therefore, will follow the 
example of your integrity rather than of your 
apostasy ." 

What poor reasons has scepticism to rest upon ! 
No rational foundation has ever been ascertained 
for the support of a single doubt respecting the 
truth of the Christian system. The evil of the 
natural heart, and the influence of Satan upon it, 
give support to sceptical doubts. Let but these 
be removed, and faith is made easy. God so 
lives in his truth "among men" that the awak- 
ened conscience feels him near ; and doubting his 
truth is resisting his Spirit. It is then just that 
" he that doubteth is damned." There is no ne- 
cessity of doubting ; and violence is done to the 
feelings of sincerity in all cases of sceptical efforts 
to disbelieve God. Vices, like virtues, in this 
respect at least, are found in clusters. One vice 
does not take up its abode in the heart alone — it 
always has compan}^. The name of sin is, there- 
fore, " legion " — for it is " many." 

A pernicious taste, and a fondness for reading 
works of fiction, tended also to keep rny heart in 
a wrong direction. I had weekly access to the 
"Apprentices' Library," through the means of 
which I read some valuable works. Among 
them I might class the "Letters of the British 



FIRST STEPS TOWARD SCEPTICISM. 37 



Spy," by the late Hon. William Wirt. This 
book greatly increased my desire after knowl- 
edge, as it gave me information of many things 
concerning the structure of the globe, the proba- 
ble changes it has undergone from evidences upon 
its surface and far. beneath it, that was to me en- 
tirely new. The eloquence of the u Blind Preach- 
er," described in it, I can yet distinctly recollect, 
although I have not seen that first book I read 
of the " Apprentices' -Library " for a quarter of a 
century. The library contained a judicious selec- 
tion, and was under the control of prudent and 
pious officers. But I soon began to crave some- 
thing more congenial with my depraved imagina- 
tion, and I turned to novel reading ; but I soon 
grew sick of it, and abandoned it with disgust 
forever. 

Sometime about this period I saw and heard 
the eccentric Lorenzo Dow. He wore a curious 
mantle, made of skins, the fur outside. His 
beard swept his breast, and his long hair was 
parted, like a woman's, on the top of his head. 
He had a well-shaped face, a fair countenance, 
white and even teeth, small keen eyes, and a 
slender frame. His general appearance was sol- 
emn, and calculated to strike superstitious minds. 
His utterance was impeded by an asthmatic affec- 
tion. He said many things in his sermons that 



38 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



were true and good, and other things not so much 
calculated to edify. His remarks were often 
well-timed, but at other times of a character 
only to gratify the curious, and excite merriment. 
Once, looking clown from a low pulpit upon a 
man in the altar, with his face upturned and 
mouth wide open, I saw Dow for a moment in 
fixed attention ; then, with a changed counte- 
nance, as if he had caught a new idea, I heard 
him say to the congregation, " Such a sentiment — 
the one under discussion — is as inconsistent as if 
that man were hungry, [pointing to within an 
eighth of an inch of the man's mouth with his 
fore-finger,] and I were to eat for him /" On 
another occasion he spoke without taking a text, 
saying there was no Scriptural authority for such 
a course. At another time he commenced speak- 
ing thus : " G — d d n your eyes, as a man 

once said to me, and gave me a kick which sent 
me two paces, and pretty long ones, too, for say- 
ing there was a thief in the congregation ; and 
afterward it was ascertained that the man had 
stolen a trunk !" I have heard it stated on good 
authority, that on one occasion, while preaching 
in a barn belonging to the Rev. J. Hancock, in 
Morris County, New Jersey, Dow, standing near 
the door, turned round looking up, called aloud 
on Gabriel a number of times, then said : " I won- 



FIRST STEPS TOWARD SCEPTICISM. 39 

der, if Gabriel would come now with a number 
of ropes to bang all of you bere wbo indulge 
impure thoughts, how many of you would soon 
be seen dangling from these beams !" I have 
heard him, while lying in the pulpit-seat, with 
his feet higher than his head, sing his own com- 
position in a manner not a little ludicrous. His 
influence upon me, on the whole, as a preacher 
of the gospel, was not favourable : and yet, in 
reading his life and early experience, I cannot 
doubt but that he was once a truly converted and 
called minister of Christ. "With all his faults — 
and who has none I — he had his virtues ; and he 
now " rests from his labours, and his works do 
follow him." 

There were some others I could name, whose 
preaching had an influence upon me, sometimes, 
to soften my heart. They held their meetings in 
the Court-House. At these meetings I have 
wept with tender feelings ; but, like the morning 
cloud and early dew, my feelings soon passed 
away, leaving me in a more doubtful state than 
ever. Like iron, the oftener heated, the more 
brittle it becomes. 

Infidel -sentiments, uttered by persons older 
than myself, began to find in my hardened heart 
a welcome reception. Infidels, in greater num- 
bers, became my intimate companions. In their 



40 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



company, while their words did eat as doth a 
canker, I soon became so reckless in regard to 
the future that I astonished some of my former 
friends. How much harm are unsuspecting 
young men liable to, who breathe the foul conta- 
gion of infidel influence and example ! 

In the spring of 1824 my father, who about a 
year before had removed to Paterson, New Jer- 
sey, died after a short illness. I had not heard 
of his sickness until the intelligence of his death 
reached me. It was just in the dusk of evening 
when the man with a carriage arrived to convey 
three brothers, also apprentices, with myself, to 
Paterson to our father's funeral. It was a gloomy 
time with us. At the sad news, my youngest 
brother, William, then but a child, broke out in 
the most bitter crying and lamentation, and 
would not be comforted. As we started in the 
wagon, dark clouds were rising in the west. The 
heavens were soon clothed in black, and the 
thunder was loud and the lightning blinding. 
The rain drenched us, in our uncovered vehicle, 
and we were sad on that night of gloom — poor- 
orphans, on their journey to the house of their 
mourning. Our insignificance did not mitigate 
our sorrow. We travelled slowly, not being able 
to see the road only when the lightning glanced 
upon it. Disheartened, Ave arrived quite late at 



FIRST STEPS TOWARD SCEPTICISM. 41 



the house where lay our parent's cold remains, 
with our bereaved mother mourning with anguish 
over her loss ! I looked around on the rude and 
scanty furniture in the silent room of death, aud 
thought upon the last interview I had enjoyed 
with my father, and felt disconsolate beyond 
words to express. A sleepless night to me, and 
the funeral hour arrived. A sermon was preached 
by the Kev. Dr. Fisher, on John v, 28, 29. At 
the close of the discourse we proceeded, few in 
number, following the coffin, borne on men's 
shoulders, to the burial-ground, a little south of the 
town. As the coffin w T as descending to its last 
resting-place, the soil on one side of the grave 
gave way, and the two men on that side went 
down into the grave with the coffin against them. 
It was with some difficulty that they were extri- 
cated, as my lather was a heavy man. All this 
time I stood by without weeping. It seemed 
my heart, through grief, was nearly petrified. 
When the grave was closed, we left the spot in 
sorrow, having buried a father, to see on earth his 
face no more forever. 

When we returned to the room where he died, 
how lonesome did it appear ; for he who w r as 
always so cheerful and glad when his children 
were around him, was not there ! His chair was 
there, and his book, but his voice was not heard. 



42 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



nor Lis smile seen. A vacancy was left there 
none other could fill up ; and we had a lesson to 
teach us of the frailty of human life. 

My mother, shortly after my father's decease, 
removed to Newark, New Jersey, to be among 
her children, where she abode the remainder of 
her days on earth. 

The loss of my father did not, as one would 
suppose, turn my mind to the contemplation of 
eternal things. I was, if possible, more impeni- 
tent than before I endured the " sorrow that 
worketh death." A kind of misanthropy pos- 
sessed me. My sympathies for mankind were 
frost-bitten by infidelity, and benumbed by what 
I suffered. The clod that is softened at a certain 
season, is hardened at another by the same sun. 
Unbelief in the heart changes, to that heart, all 
God's providential dealings into curses; while 
faith alone has the power, while working by love, 
to make to its possessor all things, in both provi- 
dence and grace, " work together for good " in 
the present, and life eternal in the world to come. 



DEISM. 



43 



CHAPTER IV. 

SETTLING- DOWN IN DEISM THEN UNSETTLED. 

Pert infidelity is wit's cockade, 

To grace the brazen brow that braves the skies, 

By loss of being dreadfully secure. 

%i 3 & q q q e 
For want of faith 
Down the steep precipice of YvTong he slides : 
There 's nothing to support him in the right. 

Young. 

Believing merely in the existence of a God who 
had never revealed his will to man, except in hu- 
man "reason," and denying the Lord Jesus Christ, 
with his religion, and the inspiration of the Scrip- 
tures, the immortality of the human soul became 
to me a subject of doubtful and perplexing uncer- 
tainty. I was sitting down in the dark valley 
under the awful shadow of death. I was so left 
of God that I now could " believe a lie," because 
I had "pleasure in unrighteousness." But I was 
not so confirmed in my opinions as to be without 
misgivings. If I had been, I should have resem- 
bled no other sceptic that has ever lived. The 
rock of my infidelity was not like the Rock of the 
Christian — to bear me up : " Other foundation 



44 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



can no man lay than that which is laid, which is 
Jesus Christ." 

I have read Volney's " Travels in Assyria," 
and his " Ruins of Empires I have read Paine's 
" Age of Reason," and Palmer's " Principles of 
Nature ;" the poetical works of Pope, Byron, and 
Shelley, with many others of like character. But 
the most injurious to me were the works of blind 
Palmer and Lord Byron. The insidious charm 
that lurks in the style of those writers — the sub- 
tlety and insinuating* attractiveness of the beguil- 
ing serpent through them, have ensnared and 
ruined thousands. In reading Byron, I have 
been so fascinated at times, that it appeared I 
could not bend my will sufficiently to come within 
gun-shot of one important reality. It made me 
feel reckless of consequences; and I have felt at 
times almost willing, if the poet should be lost, 
to take up my abode also with him in hell, for 
the sake of his company ! All this inspired mc 
with a disposition and strength to make an 
openly-avowed denial of Jesus Christ, and the 
doctrines and truths of the Holy Scriptures. 

In the winter of 1825 I was married to Miss 
Mary Thompson. Being then a deist, I did not 
broach the matter of my faith to my wife, who, 
though not a professor of religion, was strongly 
inclined to be one. In consequence of this, I 



DEISM. 



45 



thought more of her than if she had been of my 
opinions. When I witnessed her apparent can- 
dour, while she would converse with her friends 
on the subject of religion, I felt half determined 
not to endeavour to shake her confidence : and I 
thought, even then, that I did not desire ever to 
see her less a Christian. In consequence of hav- 
ing a home, I did not mingle as much as I had 
clone with my infidel associates. I also went 
oftener to places of public worship, in order to 
please my wife. But my reading suffered no 
abatement, and my deistical opinions still con- 
tinued to spread their roots deeper in the soil of 
my depraved nature. My progress in the senti- 
timents I had imbibed, I presumed was owing 
to my advance in knowledge and more maturity 
in judgment. 

I became interested in the study of astronomy. 
It gave a scope to my thoughts in meditation. 
When about eighteen years old, I heard a passer- 
by in the street say to his friend, that " China 
w r as nearly under us." Before that I had thought 
the earth an extended plain ; but now it flashed 
upon me at once that the earth was round, like a 
chestnut-bur, and that up and down were from 
and to the centre of it. This step taken in " sci- 
ence," I went on until I knew a good deal of 
popular astronomy. 



46 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



When my views of the works of creation be- 
came somewhat enlarged, I thought that we on 
earth were 

" Too small for notice in the vast of being f* 

and that the Son of God to die for the human 
race, when there were so many millions of worlds 
"immensely great " for whose inhabitants he did 
not die, was a supposition not consistent with 
reason. How I needed the " bright candle of the 
Lord " to give me true light ! for the light in me 
had become great darkness. 

I was passionately fond of poetry ; and, after 
reading Pope's Homer — the " Iliad " and " Odys- 
sey" — I was so filled with the fire of song that I 
sat down, one pleasant evening, and composed 
the following piece : — 

IMMENSITY. 

How small this globe, this world of human kind, 
When opens the vast concave to the mind, 
Where fields of argent light unbounded lie 
Beyond the reach of telescopic eye ; 
Where worlds in swarms their endless circles run, 
Each system balanced on its central sun! 
Could fancy bold, with undiminished flight, 
Far soar beyond all orbs in human sight ; 
Could still accelerate her onward course 
Through star-gernm/d fields with unabated force — 
Millions of systems passed, she ? d still behold 
Myriads of tracts unnumbered orbs unfold ; 



DEISM. 41 

Suns after suns eternally would rise 
To light her way through wide-expanded skies ; 
Nor, while eternal cycles roll their rounds, 
Would ever fancy reach yast nature's bounds. 
To thee, great God, and unto thee alone, 
Are such profound, such deep arcana known ! 
'T is thine — not ours — thy work to comprehend — 
Their centre, bounds, beginning, and their end. 

The above first production of my poetic frenzy 
I slipped under the door of the printing-office; 
and to my trembling surprise it appeared in the 
next issue of the paper. It was soon followed 
by a number like it, which have had their 
day. 

My mind w T as active and restless. Infidelity 
gave it no satisfaction. Had my heart been 
right with God, the poetry of Homer, Virgil, 
and Shakspeare would have done me no harm. 
Theatrical amusements allured and bewitched 
me for a time. I heard the chief actors and 
singers, and for a time was dazzled and bewil- 
dered. In my opinion, the theatre is one of the 
most formidable engines worked by the friends 
of Satan, to the destruction of good morals and 
human happiness in this world. 

Politics engrossed much of my attention. 
Not that I desired to gain office. I never had 
a wish for any such responsibility. I desired to 



48 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



oppose the influence of aristocracy, and what I 
thought was priestcraft. To this influence I 
thought there were many dupes ; and I wished 
to see its shackles broken, that unrestrained 
liberty might be enjoyed. I published in the 
newspapers at the time a number of pieces on 
" religious intolerance," that I now would blush 
to read. They were an invidious attack on 
Christianity. I associated with a class of in- 
fidel politicians who were always prating about 
liberty ! What liberty has infidelity to give to 
man ? Such as it tendered through the guillo- 
tine in the days of its glory in France ! I am 
well aware that while man remains a depraved 
being on earth, encroachments will be made upon 
the rights of the common people by wealthy 
aristocrats, political demagogues, and fanatical 
bigots, and that there is no better cure for such 
evils than real Christianity. 

There were at that period religious friends 
who still thought of me. Two books were 
loaned to me by them, on condition that I would 
read them carefully. " Burke on the Sublime 
and Beautiful," and u Beattie on Truth." I read 
them with care. Their influence upon me was 
to induce a better state of thinking than politics 
had done. Still I met with the infidels at their 
place of gathering in the " Old Cadet Hall." 



DEISM. 



49 



Here I heard a number of the champions of 
Deism hold forth the words of death ! 

On one occasion, in that " Hall," of a Sabbath 
afternoon, a young married man and his wife, 
from the city of New- York, having " come over 
to help us," gave me a specimen of what I might 
judge infidelity would lead to. After giving us 
an edifying address, the infidel orator and his 
companion repaired to the tavern — watched by 
me — and each took a glass of strong liquor at 
the bar, to give " fourth proof " testimony to the 
genuine character of their sentiments! I was 
glad the lady was not my wife, and that my wife 
was not an infidel. 

I found that many of our leading men in 
Deism held to very liberal views respecting the 
marriage compact, not believing it favourable to 
our happiness ; and that Bible-teaching was cruel 
and oppressive, because it interdicted promiscuous 
intercourse between the sexes, and thereby de- 
prived man of his natural liberty. I felt sorry 
that Deism seemed to lead to such consequences, 
as I heartily despised, and meant to despise all 
licentiousness. 

I next w r ent to hear preaching by the Univer- 
salists. They did not hold to such outrageous 
sentiments respecting matrimony ; and I did not 
know but I might come into their views : but I 
4 



50 



THE CONVERTED I N FIDEL. 



soon felt disgusted with their pretensions to be 
religious. They gave me no evidence that they 
believed the Bible to be God's word, more than 
I believed it myself. I hated hypocrisy ; and 
their preaching reforms no person, and is alto- 
gether unnecessaiy. Many of my acquaintances 
were Universalists ; but they were no more 
changed in heart than I was. I have known 
them to go to some "rum-hole" place of re- 
freshmen^ or the tavern where I was, and heard 
them applaud the sermon they had just heard 
from their favourite preacher, with an oath, and 
then take a glass of rum, swearing they did not 
believe there was a hell ! 

Through the solicitation* of some of my better 
friends I joined the " Young Men's Society. " 
This association was based upon good principles, 
and many of its members young men of promise, 
who have since realized the high expectations 
then indulged. The vigour of intellect displayed 
by some of those young men threw my infidel 
friends into the shade. 

Having taken a more sober view of the effects 
of infidelity, in contrast with those of religion, 
I was better prepared to judge between them. I 
began to think that men might be well informed, 
candid, and upright, and still be Christians ! I 
became less severe in my strictures, from time to 



DEISM. 



51 



time, on professors of religion. One of my in- 
fidel acquaintances, whose name I shall not 
mention, I watched closely. He had the con- 
sumption, and I resolved, if possible, to see how 
he would die. He was a man of much reading 
and ingenuity. He had often said in my hear- 
ing that dying, he was sure, would be an easy 
affair with him ! He said he knew himself so 
well. The sceiie of the last afternoon visit I paid 
him is still fresh in my recollection. He was 
alone in the room, and in bed, when I entered. 
On the mantlepiece lay a book much soiled and 
worn. It was the "Age of Reason," — his favour- 
ite soul-diet ! He knew me well, and often in a 
jocular way had said, "John, by G — d, I'll show 
you how to die one of these days !" He now lay 
there, a ghastly spectacle before me, about to die ! 
I said, " Friend, I am sorry to see you so low ; 
but I see by the book on the shelf that you still 
stick to your integrity. He raised himself up in 
the bed, and stretched out his naked arm of skin 
and bone ; and with hollow eyes and glassy, and 
thin lips, drawn over teeth that showed a death- 
like grin, he said : " Do you think that God will 
burn such a d — d arm as this, in hell ? No ! but 
I wish there was a hell, to burn such men in as 

, the Presbyterian hypocrite ; for he has not 

been to see me since I've been sick!" He then 



52 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



turned in the bed with his face to the wall, and 
his back toward me, evidently not desiring then 
to show me how to die! A day or two after 
this he died ; and I never yet have had a desire 
to die like him ! 

I was desirous of being right in matters of 
conscience ; and so far as honesty and benevolence 
extended, I approved, admired, and practised 
them. An abatement in my zeal in the infidel 
cause was observed ; and my friends suspected a 
secret intention on my part to become a Chris- 
tian. This was then so far from my expectation, 
that I gave them my word that if ever anything 
like it occurred, they might accuse me of self- 
interest in the matter. For fear of incurring the 
suspicion of seriousness, I often went to excesses 
in an opposite direction. While the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in Franklin-street was about 
being finished, and the workmen were inside, one 
day I walked up into the pulpit, and buttoned 
my coat up to my chin, with my hair combed 
over my forehead, and there, in solemn mimicry, 
went through the character of a Methodist 
preacher, to the gratification of " my hearers !" 
For this I was cuttingly reproved by an infidel 
friend, as also by my own conscience. 

On a pleasant lot, not more than one hundred 
and fifty yards from where the Wesley an Insti- 



DEISM. 



53 



tute now stands, I built a house, and nay pros- 
pects were tolerably fair in temporal matters. I 
appropriated one room in the bouse to the busi- 
ness of shoe-making. There was in it a little 
more room than I needed, and I prevailed on a 
Methodist neighbour, a shoemaker, to take a 
seat in it. " As he had," I said, " an overstock 
of faith, it would counterbalance my unbelief." 
This man took me once to a general class-meet- 
ing ; and a brother remarked in his prayer that 
there was " an Achan in the camp and I felt 
highly insulted, as I thought I was the repre- 
hensible individual pointed out : but this was not 
the case. 

One summer afternoon a storm arose; and 
my solemn Methodist friend remarked that it 
made him always feel serious to hear loud thun- 
der. The thunder and lightning on the present 
occasion were awful ; and I felt like endeavouring 
to frighten my friend. Just as the sound of a 
loud clap of thunder was dying away, I took up 
a bright-bladed knife, and held it toward the 
window, and said, " There, crack away at that/" 
Instantly a flash and a dreadful peal came to- 
gether, with a smell of sulphur, nearly stunning 
my senses ! I turned around, and they had all 
left me alone, declaring their dread of remain- 
ing with one who would act so daringly. I was 



54 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



then conscious that God had rebuked my temerity 
with a thunder-peal ; and I made a promise that 
I never would do the like again, and desired to 
have my life spared a little longer. 

A Mr. Vanderpool, a pious young man, who 
has since gone to his reward, once said to me in 
conversation : " Do you believe, sir, if called now 
to the judgment, that you could in candour say 
that you have done all in your power to become 
acquainted with Christ and his religion V 1 After 
a pause, I plainly told him I did not think I 
could. "Then," said he, "would it not be just 
that you should be punished for your neglect P 
Shortly after, walking in a clover-field alone, I 
thought there might be truth in the Bible doc- 
trines ; and there might be a hell, where I might 
at last arrive, and find no pleasant clover-fields 
to walk through. I then felt so displeased with 
God that I looked up in a rage, and said : " Why 
did I come into existence ? Now send me to 
hell, then, and I '11 bear it 1" In a moment I 
reflected on what I had done, and in a profuse 
perspiration shuddered with dread ! 

In company with a number of pious persons, 
who were conversing on the providences of God, 
I said, "Gentlemen, I do not believe at all in 
your notions of God's interferences in our affairs ; 
and I will take my own case to prove that there 



DEISM. 



55 



is no other cause of our prosperity than our own 
industry and good management. I vMl prosper 
in my business, in spite of that Providence you 
with so much confidence speak of. 77 

Notwithstanding mv state, manv took an in- 
terest in my welfare. I received tracts and let- 
ters from pious friends. One letter, from a pious 
uncle in Ireland, I deem worthy of making a few 
extracts from. It is in reply to letters in support 
of deistical sentiments, received from me at the 
time. 

44 Armagh, Ireland. Oct., 1829. 
u My Dear John, — I believe I would not now 
embrace this opportunity of writing to you, wen- 
it not for the particular wish I have to give you 
my candid opinion on that part of your letter 
relating to theology. My reasons, arguments, 
and conclusions you may deem impertinent and 
warm ; but as long as the Almighty shall per- 
mit reason to direct my thoughts, I humbly trust, 
with the aid of divine grace, it will confirm the 
hope I cherish. My conviction is settled con- 
cerning the truth of the blessed gospel of Jesus 
Christ. I do most firmly believe that such as 
have pretended, or may pretend to reject this 
gospel, have done so, and will do so, on account 
of its purity, and a perverse principle in our nature, 
6 which is enmity against God.' 



56 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



" You say you 1 cannot comprehend/ &c, &c. 
Your comprehension is not required. I ask you, 
Can you comprehend your own existence — your 
body in combination with your soul ? If you can, 
you are the only one of the race. As you profess 
to believe that you have a soul, where did you 
acquire the knowledge on which to rest your be- 
lief ? You may answer, From the general opinion 
of the philosophers. Where did they receive 
their knowledge of the immortality of the soul ? 
By tradition, you say ; and from whom ? Why, 
from the inspired patriarchs of the Old Testament 
Scriptures, whose lives were antecedent to the 
work of any author or philosopher. As to com- 
prehension, indeed, we may comprehend the 
proximity of corresponding members, or parts of 
a whole, by the aid of the sciences; we may 
vaguely calculate the distances of the planets 
from each other, and the velocity of their courses ; 
but what conclusions can we draw from hence ? 
Why, that the incomprehensibility of the works 
of God should humble our pride. 

" There is a revelation of God in the Bible, and 
why should we quarrel with the Father of the 
universe for the manner in which he has seen 
good to make it. The Scriptures are proved, by 
incontestable evidence, to be divinely inspired, by 
the exact fulfilment of prophecy. The rise and 



DEISM, 



fall of empires are recorded by historians who 
never heard of these prophecies. Christ's predic- 
tions concerning J erusalern have been so wonder- 
fully fulfilled as to show him to be all he claimed 
to be — God ! 

* % * * % % * 

" Could it be possible that a few simple men 
would offer their lives as a sacrifice to give what 
they knew to be false the appearance of truth ? 
And their Master suffered death for what he ad- 
vanced as truth, after he had proved his mission, 
by his miracles, his resurrection, and ascension, 
to be from God 

" Man is also conscious of depravity and trans- 
gression, as peculiar to his spoiled nature. He 
may as clearly know his pardon and acceptance, 
through the atonement and intercession of Jesus 
Christ, as he knows he has offended God. By 
faith he may be enabled to call God, Abba, 
Father; to receive the promised Comforter; to 
correct every wrong temper, and be created anew 
in Christ Jesus unto good works. 

"These remarks flow from the conviction of 
the truth and goodness of the choice I have made. 
My ears have been accustomed to such argu- 
ments as yours ever since I was a boy ; and I 
must confess I look at them all as gross non- 
sense. Atheists have a more tenable ground to 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



stand on than the most subtle deists. They— 
deists — have formed a code of opinions from the 
very oracles they pretend to reject. 

44 Your former remarks on the 4 variety of 
opinions existing among classes professing Chris- 
tianity,' afford no proof of the invalidity of the 
Scriptures, any more than the variety of physiog- 
nomy proves that the human family are not the 
offspring of one common father 

44 So, my dear John, I now close my remarks 
on your rash and dangerous creed with this one 
observation : Deists admit that strict morality 
is pleasing to God. Now, I ask, what system 
of morality so exalted — so sublime — as that in- 
culcated by Christianity ! If the Christian has 
the right side of this tremendous question — and 

O J. 

his very thoughts may be directed into channels 
of Heaven's own appointment — O, how awful 
must be the final state of those who wilfully re- 
ject and despise the gospel of the ever-blessed 
Son of God ! 

44 1 remain your ever affectionate uncle, 

44 David Scarlett." 

The letter of my uncle had for a time some 
effect upon me ; but I soon forgot the impres- 
sions it made upon my mind. 

During the revival of 1830-31, in Newark, 



DEISM. 



59 



I encountered some converts who somewhat in- 
terrupted my peace. One, especially, who had 
been a noted Universalist ; and his change ex- 
cited some surprise. I said to him, " Well, Lewis, 
you have come out bright I hear." He answer- 
ed, with tears flowing down his cheeks: " Friend 
John, you are on a stormy sea, without a sail, 
rudder, or compass, — you know not to what port 
you are bound.' 7 His words hurt my feelings, 
and partially unsettled my carnal quiet; and I 
wrote some pieces, which were published in a 
New-York newspaper, against revival operations, 
and in ridicule of the Methodists. 

In the year 1832 the Asiatic cholera sent 
many of our citizens suddenly from this scene of 
mortality. An infidel friend was taken with it, 
and I tried to comfort him by ridiculing religion. 
I joked about death ; and in the middle of the 
night after, I rose from my bed with dreadful 
fears that I had the cholera myself. I then felt 
like praying instead of joking. 

Sometime after this I heard the Rev. Charles 
Pitman preach in the church in Franklin-street ; 
and he so tore to pieces my "refuge of lies," that 
my anger boiled over. My brother David sat 
in the seat with me ; and he, with many others, 
wept under the sermon, in audible sobs. I whis- 
pered in his ear — thrusting my elbow into his 



60 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



side — that lie was a fool for manifesting such 
weakness ! I never was more enraged at a 
preacher than at that time I was at Mr. Pitman ; 
and I wrote that afternoon a piece strongly ani- 
madverting on his sermon, to be published in a 
paper that had been used by me for such pur- 
poses before — but it never appeared. 



CONVERSION. 



61 



CHAPTER V. 

CONVERSION. 

Genuine conversions are always sudden. — Olin. 

The change I experienced in my heart — with its 
connexion throughout my moral and spiritual 
nature — I must ever view as the most wonder- 
ful exhibition of the mercy of God ever made 
to me. In that radical change, wrought by the 
Holy Ghost, I was, indeed, brought from dark- 
ness to light. Jesus the Mediator, and a reliance 
on his atonement by faith, were the procuring 
cause and condition by which it was accomplished. 
And no man can look on my conversion with the 
same feelings that I do. If God had, in my sight, 
for my gratification, created a thousand worlds, 
and sent them all glowing with beauty on their 
tireless rounds, it would not have equalled the 
astonishment and delight I felt when he spake 
my sins all forgiven. Then did his Spirit 

" In my spirit shine, 
As shines a sunbeam in a drop of dew, — 

the same Spirit that shall reanimate my body on 
the coming resurrection morn ! 



62 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



During the summer of 1831, or 1832, I think, 
there was some alarm spread concerning a comet 
that was then visible in the heavens. A pamphlet 
was published on the subject of its dangerous 
approach to the earth, and its probable collision 
with our world. This exciting subject was used 
to frighten sinners to repentance. I had not 
the least confidence in the assumed truth of that 
which was made the cause of alarm. I was dis- 
gusted with such attempts to make converts to 
religion. Does Christianity, I asked, need help 
from such sources ? How flimsy must be its 
foundation, if motives to urge its requirements 
upon us must be sought in such dubious conjec- 
tures. With such a view of the subject, I felt a 
desire to do something to counteract the bad 
tendencies of the alarm. At a public meeting, 
held by the infidels, I chose to speak out my 
sentiments — holding the offensive pamphlet in 
my hand. Professors of religion had afforded 
me ground to occupy in opposing them. I said 
that u the elements of comets, and the laws of 
motion, as far as they are known, would not 
warrant the supposition for a moment that de- 
structive consequences might, through the force 
of a collision, ensue to our earth ; g that the 
whole matter was got up for effect ; and that the 
alarming party did not themselves believe what 



CON VERSION. 



to 



they asserted." Then I ridiculed religion as be- 
ing altogether based on falsehood, like that alarm 
contained in the pamphlet. Before I got through , 
an infidel, with a nose fiery and fat, rose on his 
feet, and, with an oath, vociferated, " It takes him ! 
it takes him !" at the same time snapping his 
finger and thumb over his head in triumph. The 
kind of applause I received, and the suspicious 
source from whence it emanated, made me re- 
solve, while yet standing, to mingle with infidel 
meetings, for the purpose of the promotion of 
their cause, no more, while I should live. 

The meeting; was held in the long-room of a, 
tavern. I had, before I commenced my harangue, 
taken a glass of brandy as a suitable stimulant 
on the occasion. At the close of my speech I 
became somewhat sobered ; and having resolved 
to give up such business, as of bad tendency, I 
immediately took my leave of the place, and 
walked leisurely alone, meditating on my way 
home. 

The thoughts that occupied my mind, after I 
had retired from the bustle and confusion of the 
meeting, were, no doubt, influenced by the Spirit 
of God. I have never in my life, to my knowl- 
edge, doubted the fact of the being of a God ; 
but I denied his recorded revelation to man, and 
the divinity and gospel of hi3 Son. That there 



64 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



is a God, the entire operations of a moving uni- 
verse proclaim ; and I admitted all. It now 
struck me with force, that this Great Being, what- 
ever might be the extent of his revelation, could 
not be totally indifferent to the affairs of men, 
and character of human actions. The Christian's 
thoughts and actions I now looked upon as very 
different from those of infidels. And God most 
evidently must be more pleased with those of one 
party than with those of the other ; for both classes 
cannot be equally in his favour, on the principle 
of divine consistency. Certainly, two opposite 
characters cannot be alike acceptable to God. 

In looking over the ground occupied by the 
Christian world, on points of difference between 
it and the infidel world, I saw evident marks of 
goodness on it that did not appear on the ground 
of its opponents. Efforts to promote learning, 
civilization, good feelings, and right principles in 
morals, appeared to be put forth by Christians in 
public and in private, as the fruit of Bible in- 
fluence. Such efforts infidels did not find it in 
their hearts to make. The field of infidel-culti- 
vation to my eye presented no growth but 
"thorns and thistles;" no landscape of "living 
green," — no spot of sunshine, — no oasis in its 
wilderness, nor limpid stream to refresh the weary 
traveller on his journey through life. No fra- 



CONVERSION, 



65 



grance of blooming flowers, wafted by the health- 
ful breezes of heaven, to gladden the heart of the 
infidel on his way to the judgment. Now, could 
a good God be the wise originator and inspirer 
of such a course of desolation, in preference to 
the Christian system ? Rich with every treasure 
needed by man, bright with every moral excel- 
lence, ennobling in soul-dignifying power, glorious 
with God's grace, and inviting with its " trees of 
generous fruit," and " feast of fat things," could 
the gospel scheme, and those giving proper heed 
to it, be regarded by our Maker of less value and 
importance than infidelity ? My conscience found 
it easier to answer such a question than my 
heart. 

After having reached home, I retired to an 
upper-room, in order to be alone with my re- 
flections. I continued in deep meditation. The 
old abused Bible, much of which had been used 
for waste paper, lay near me on the stand. I 
grasped its torn remains, and thought of its once 
bleeding Author. A burden lay upon my heart ; 
and sighs of sorrow gave vent to my feelings, 
while I attempted to trace some of its pages. I 
had often read "that good old Book of Life," 
with motives not like those which now actuated 
me. Toward the great subject of its united 
testimony I felt moved by supernatural agency. 
5 



^6 



THE CONVERTED IN FIDEL. 



Its origin, authority, and gracious design now 
appeared to me more than human. 

The name of Jesus, as I repeated it to myself, 
seemed a " wonderful " name ; there was power 
in it to me that I in a measure realized. I won- 
dered at it, but could not comprehend its deep 
meaning. I tried to compare it with other great 
names ; but it was, indeed, " above every name." 
There was a deep mystery in its effect upon me ; 
and who could explain it ? Moses, David, Isaiah, 
and Daniel, I could articulate and repeat; but 
the name of Jesus did not sound like them. 
They are the names of mere men ; and have not 
in them the Son of God, to make them, when 
uttered, strike the mind of sincerity with divine 
force. Socrates, Seneca, and Washington, I ut- 
tered in audible whispers ; but the name of Jesus 
—having originated with God, and not with 
man — was not like them in its influence. It 
made its own impression on my spirit. It ar- 
rayed my inward thoughts before its all-seeing 
presence, uncovering before its inspection my 
conscience and my sins. u Thou shalt call his 
name Jesus, for he shall save his people from 
their sins." " Name to sinners dear !•" 

The Scriptures had long appeared to me like 
an immense mass of ponderous lumber, which I 
cxmld not measure,— a boundless field, which I 



CONVERSION. 



could not at a glance explore, — an unknown 
ocean, whose depths I could not sound. The 
interests of my immortality 1 considered too great 
to trust to the capricious whims of mankind. I 
must have a revelation from God alone, or I 
could not be satisfied. The Bible lay open be- 
fore me, and I now began to tremble at the 
word; but the word of man would not do to 
prove to me the infallible truth of God's word. 
Man had erred and lied; and he might err and 
lie again ! How could I be fully assured that the 
Bible contains a copy of God's own thoughts ■ 
"What method could I successfully pursue to a 
final settlement of this important question 2 
That there is something of peculiar excellence in 
the Bible, distinguishing it from all other books, 
is most certain ; but must that peculiar some- 
thing be the only evidence by which I am to be 
assured of its divine inspiration ? Is the " copy- 
right" of its divinity's revealed evidence with 
the learned, through whom it is to flow down to 
the ignorant, making the salvation of the ig- 
norant depend on the learned ? Is the strong- 
est proof of its supernatural claim at best but 
a favourable conjecture? Such were some of 
my thoughts while I was longing for the " true 
light." 

A work on the evidences of Christianity, by a 



68 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



noted writer, named Charles Bonnet,* of Geneva 
— who lived in the days of Voltaire, and was a suc- 
cessful champion in defence of the truths assailed 
by the noted infidel — fell into my hands, and 
was the means, in the hands of God, of convincing 
my mind of the certainty of the fact of the 
resurrection of Jesus Christ. Bonnet's manner 
of handling the subject was to me somewhat new. 
He brought all the objections that have been 
made to this fact recorded by inspiration. He 
arrayed them against the proof that supports it ; 
and there were many that I had not thought of 
before. The question was before me, as if 
"weighed in a balance." The evidence of this 
divinely-asserted fact preponderated. Things ap- 
peared to me that could not be removed out of 

9 In a tract (No. 143, on the Catalogue) entitled 
" The Conversion of a Deist," this name is erroneously 
printed " Bennett." I have not seen the book alluded 
to in eighteen years, having given the one I had to 
an infidel going to cross the Atlantic for his health — 
he being in a consumption — hoping it would do him 
as much good as it had done me. I have heard that 
Bonnet was a "Restorationist be that as it may, 
I would not give countenance to that absurdity by re- 
ferring to Bonnet's argument in proof of our Lord's 
resurrection. I think that Free Redemptionists, in 
their belief, are more absurd, if possible, than the 
TJniversalists. 



CONVERSION. 



(39 



the way, making it absolutely impossible to avoid 
absurdity in denying this fact. I reasoned with 
myself thus: "Here is an evident truth, of in- 
conceivable importance, brought to my appre- 
hension. I will now hold this belief, as founded 
on fact, although my feelings should rise up 
against it ; and I will hold it publicly as well as 
privately." This inward, sincere assent to the 
truth of revelation brought with it an awful 
alarm ; for it led me to this conclusion : that if 
Christ is risen from the dead, he will come again 
on earth to judge the world, and I feel an entire 
want of preparation to meet him on such an 
occasion of final settlement. 

The resurrection of Christ proves also the 
divine inspiration of the Scriptures. If Jesus is 
now alive, he is indeed all that he claimed to be, 
according to those writings that " testify of him ;" 
and, therefore, must have fully comprehended all 
the Old Testament. He knew all those books 
that were claimed to be of divine authority, in 
their exact meaning, scope, and design. That he 
would have detected error, and exposed it, had 
it been found in the books, is fairly deducible 
from his character. In his quotations from them 
he has given his sanction to them in his own 
teachings. The divinity of the Old Testament 
admitted, the New Testament follows ; for it is 



10 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



an essential fulfilment of the Old-Testament 
prophecies, and the New-Testament claim to di- 
vine authority is as good as the Old. It is an 
inspired record of the resurrection of Christ, and 
stamps with truth all the doctrines connected 
with that fact. The truth thus admitted of the 
Mew, that of the Old Testament must also follow, 
as an unavoidable consequence. They both, by 
their intimate relation to, and connexion with 
each other, prove their emanation from one com- 
mon source. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is 
the keystone of the mighty arch that spans the 
whole system of human redemption, and gives 
combination and solidity to the several parts. 
Such, as far as memory serves, was my view of 
the subject, after reading the book of the Gene- 
vese author. 

I met with David Young, the New- Jersey 
astronomer, and being somewhat perplexed in 
my mind to account for the apparent discrepancy 
between astronomical truth and the miracle of the 
sun standing still at the command of Joshua, I 
shortly after my introduction to him inquired : 
" Mr. Young, may I ask you, are you a believer 
in the infallible truth of the Bible ?" "I am, 
sir," was his reply. "Please, then, tell me, sir," 
said I, " whether it was the sun or the earth that 
stood still at Joshua's command." "It was 



CONVERSION. 



most probably the earth," he replied. u Would 
not, then, sir, such a sudden check in the earth's 
rapid motion cause the Atlantic to rush over the 
Alleghany Mountains?" "It would, sir, have 
done so, if God's method had been like that of a 
finite creature. If a man should run with his head 
against a tree, or any other solid material, the 
point where his head would come in contact with 
the tree would be bruised, because the check to 
the motion of the whole body would be in one 
small place. But the power of God, exerted so 
as to operate in an all-pervading manner, reach- 
ing to every part and particle at" once, could stop 
the earth without interruption to the ocean ; as 
the head would be entirely uninjured, on a sup- 
position that the impediment opposed to the mo- 
tion of the body could be made to reach every 
particle of the entire matter of the body at once. 
The language used on the occasion, 'the sun 
stood still,' was according to common custom, — 
as we still say the sun rises or sets, when he 
appears to do so from the rotary motion of the 
earth." His explanation was satisfactory. 

A short time previous to this period I had 
taken the "Temperance Pledge," which led to 
increased soberness of thought. I never was a 
drunkard, and never drank to what the world 
calls excess: but I became a temperance man, 



72 



THE CONVERTED INEIDEL. 



in order to guard against the probability of a 
future evil. To hear a man say that he is not 
afraid of contracting the appetite to drink in- 
toxicating liquors, when he is tampering with 
the matter, is like hearing a person say he is not 
afraid of taking a contagious disease, while in the 
midst of dying victims to it, and no precaution- 
ary measures are taken to avoid its infection. I 
was induced to take this step of safety by hear- 
ing an able address on the subject of temperance, 
in the Third Presbyterian Church in Newark, 
New-Jersey, by Mr. Mackay. This gentleman 
proved so convincingly the pernicious effects of 
alcohol upon the human system, that I resolved 
to abandon the use of it at once ; and, therefore, 
the next morning I hastened directly, with deter- 
mination, and called on Mr. Bond, who had the 
pledge of the society, in order to sign my name 
to it. I soon found that I could not be consistent 
without exerting an influence on others in favour 
of temperance. This made some of my old in- 
fidel friends and companions withdraw their warm 
(heated by rum) affections from me. It also led 
some new Christian friends to draw nearer to me. 

I met with disappointments in pursuit of hap- 
piness. With a partially awakened mind, con- 
scious of the possession of an immortal soul, and 
active, darkling, T wandered in quest of repose. 



CONVERSION. 



78 



To cease to think was impossible ; and to think 
the thoughts of infidelity was to endeavour to 
place rny mind where no immovable foundation 
could give it support. I loved conversation, and 
used to spend much of my time in talking with 
congenial spirits ; and I believe, in this respect, I 
was more under the power of truth than if I had 
preserved a hermit-like silence on the subject. 
The unsociable, solitary, misanthropic infidels, are 
the most incorrigible to be met with. 

Returning home late one Saturday night, with 
a social infidel companion from a place of public 
resort, where we had as usual been discussing the 
great subjects of national interest, I shall never 
forget the conversation introduced by him. Poor 
man ! I fear the grave found him before repent- 
ance. It was a windy night, and the moon was 
approaching the western horizon. The depth of 
night's stillness reigned, and dark shadows of the 
living clouds glided by us along the pavement 
as our footsteps alone, of all the busy multitudes 
that had thronged the streets during the day, 
" marked time," to be mourned over in after 
years. The echoing foot-fall, mingled with the 
moaning blast in midnight notes of discontent, 
gave signs of encroachment on the Sabbath's 
early morn. Wrapping his cloak about him, my 
friend sighed in heaviness of heart He was, 



74 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



generally, one of the most jovial of fun-making 
fellows. What could extort a sigh from him? 
Had he caught the spirit of sorrow from his 
companion ? As we arrived at the place of our 
parting, he stopped, and with emotion said : 
" John, would it not be better for us to be like 
some of our neighbours — religious, and more 
regular in our habits V I paused, looking at 
him, thinking he might be in fun ; but I found 
him in real earnest. " Why, sir," said I, " such 
thoughts have occupied my mind lately, more 
than usual." He remarked again : " My little 
daughter hurt my feelings the other morning. 
She said to her mother, 4 1 wish father would 

read the Bible, and pray every day, like Mr. 

does !' What could have put it into her mind 
to say such things ?" 

After we parted I found my mind much 
wrought upon. My friend had a pious mother, 
and some most respectable relatives. His talents 
were of a high order, and his colloquial powers 
were superior. He was also an orator, and 
many have been delighted to hear him at po- 
litical gatherings. Generous and warm-hearted, 
with wit and lively powers of imagination, his 
company was always greeted in the social circle 
of festivity, merriment, and song, I highly es- 
teemed his friendship ; and now he was moved 



CONVERSION. 



upon to become religious. I hoped that the 
time would soon come when I, too, would bo 
a better man ; but there seemed to stand in my 
way a great barrier. I had made a declaration 
— as has been stated — that " I would have pros- 
perity in spite of the prevalent notions of the 
superintendence of Divine Providence." Soon 
after that declaration I had, in a gloomy state of 
mind, sold my little place for much less than it 
was worth, so that I was now somewhat involved 
in debt. I dated the rapid decline of prosperity 
in my temporal affairs from the very day of my 
rash and blasphemous declaration ! I feared 
now that God had abandoned me to myself, 
that I might be a salutary warning to others. 

The most gloomy period of my life was, per- 
haps, during the autumn and winter of 1832. 
My health was impaired from the force of mental 
anguish, and my means of temporal support were 
scanty. On every hand my way was hedged 
up. My sleep was broken, and my nights were 
spent in weary wakefulness. My days were filled 
with anxiety and corroding care. The clouds of 
an unfriendly world darkened around me, and I 
was cold and friendless in the driving storm. I 
looked upon the quiet stars, and tried to hold 
companionship with them — those far-off isles of 
light. The moon's cold smile, too, I courted, as 



76 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



it came to me in lonely hours. I feared that 
poverty would one day come upon a growing 
family in its extreme form ; and I would rather 
not have existence at all, than to have it under 
such circumstances. In God I had not yet 
learned to put my trust, and I had no one to de- 
pend on. Then was I indeed sad ; my suffering 
was great. My life was a burden to me, and I 
was weary with dragging its lengthening chain. 
Then the good people gave me tracts to read, 
while my bread was procured with difficulty ; 
and I read them w T ith a better appetite than 
when I had bread enough. 

During the early part of January, 1833, I 
went one Sabbath evening, through the impor- 
tunity of a Methodist neighbour, to hear a sermon 
by the presiding elder, in the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, in Halsey-street. I had spent a 
day of darkness and despondency, and preferred 
to walk alone to the church. I shall never for- 
get the heavy thoughts, that like lead sank into 
my soul, as in pensive loneliness I made my way 
to the house of God. On entering, I selected a 
seat on the south side, next the wall, near the pul- 
pit. I looked up, and there sat the Rev. Charles 
Pitman, the minister with whom I had been so 
dissatisfied some several months previous. I now 
was glad to see him there; and desired most 



CONVERSION. 



77 



earnestly to hear him preach the word of life to 
me. The exercises were scarcely commenced 
before I felt the Spirit of God was there. The 
voice of the preacher was loud and clear, and indi- 
cated that he was not endeavouring to manoeuvre 
it by oratorical tact ; but was giving manifestation, 
in words and actions, of a heart carried heaven- 
ward in a " chariot of fire." His text was, " Be- 
ginning at Jerusalem," — and what a text to make 
a beginning in my life ! Never before had the 
truth of Christ's religion appeared so clear to me, 
— never before the mercy of God so great. 
"While the preaching came to me in heart-swell- 
ing emotion, boldness, and burning words, my 
heart was affected in the right way. Had a cold 
didactic discourse been read to me, I might have 
been worse off for wasting the time in listening 
to it ; but the demonstration of the Spirit accom- 
panied the preaching that evening to my heart, 
and I made immediate efforts to pray. I found 
it difficult ; there was an agency against me in 
my attempts to approach God in this way. My 
thoughts were at first all confusion, like a swarm 
of bees ! The mental rambling and distraction 
I then experienced, I now believe to have been 
occasioned by Satanic influence. My mind, after 
persevering effort, became fixed ; and I prayed 
for a divine communication to my soul. I 



^8 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

desired that God would convince me in his own 
way, and bring me to the knowledge of the 
truth. A sudden trembling seized me. There 
was a peculiar indescribable tremor, which seemed 
to be in my very heart's core, and shot in 
quivering dullness throughout my whole frame ! 
Big drops of cold perspiration broke from my 
forehead, and I felt them running down my 
face. I turned round to a Methodist friend that 
sat next me, and said, " Osborn, I feel very bad ! 
I cannot stay here." I immediately rose to leave 
the house before the preacher had finished his 
sermon. I left, because I was afraid of being- 
converted that night ; and I wanted longer time 
to deliberate on the matter, as I considered it a 
serious thing to be converted. What power the 
devil has over us if we yield to his devices ! I 
might have been that night happily converted to 
God, had I not left the house. A little persua- 
sion from the lips of my friend might have kept 
me there ; and I would not have been left to such 
sufferings of mind as I endured after this, for 
nearly six months, before I was blessed with the 
pardon of my sins through atoning blood. 
After leaving the house I had a desire to return. 
From some cause my friend, who had left with 
me, did not wish to accompany me back, and I 
wandered off, alone, some distance into a neigh- 



CONVERSION, 



79 



bouring field. There was some snow in places 
on the ground, and the night was cold. The 
moon shone brightly at times ; and the hurrying 
clouds before the sighing wind, like my harrowed 
spirits, would by spells intercept the light — not 
unlike the lights and shadows that alternately 
flitted across my mind. 0, what a solemn even- 
ing was that to me! I thought of the sermon I 
had just heard. The preacher's earnest appeals 
rung in my ears. The truths of God's saving- 
mercy were repreached to me by the Spirit. As 
I walked about from place to place, thinking of 
Jesus in heaven pleading for me, I desired to ob- 
tain the consent of my mind to kneel down there 
alone and pray; but there was a fear that I 
might fall into a trance, and freeze to death ! 

At a late hour I went home, and found my 
family asleep. I retired to bed, but could not 
sleep. In the morning I was astonished to find 
that my neighbours were apprised of the fact of 
the exercises of my mind, and the strange con- 
duct I had manifested before the whole congrega- 
tion, in Halsey-street Church, on the previous 
evening. 

Never for one moment, from that period, have 
I doubted the divinity of the Bible, nor the 
truth of the religion of its Author ; but the mere 
believing thus far— giviuo* a cold assent to reve- 



80 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL, 



lation, in an abstract manner— was not accom- 
panied with saving grace to my heart. I re- 
mained in an unregenerate state, nowithstanding 
the change my mind had undergone. I re- 
spected Christians, although I feared them. 
There was a fearful impression that rested upon 
my mind that I was one of the doomed, the 
bare recollection of which is still accompanied 
with a tinge of melancholy. I hated the senti- 
ments of infidelity, and avoided the society of 
those tinctured with them. The sophistry by 
which they entangle their victims, by inducing 
them to answer questions of their asking, T 
dreaded. Truth requires not subtlety to main- 
tain it ; but error ensnares by stealthy steps, 
blinding, as there is an approach to it, until the 
mind becomes quite dark, prepared for its resi- 
dence. 

I met with my old infidel friend at a public 
store ; but he was not in the state of mind he 
was in on the night he told me of the hurt state 
of his feelings, because of his little daughter's de- 
sire that he would read the Bible and pray like 
his pious neighbours. He immediately com- 
menced an attack upon me, accusing me of 
having been deluded by the Rev. C. Pitman's 
eloquence. " Religion," he said, " is all a 
chimera, and professors are bewildered in their 



CONVERSION. 



81 



imaginations." Pointing to a recently painted 

portrait of Mr. J B , the storekeeper, 

that stood behind the counter, he said : " That 
painting is the work of a skilful artist ; it is cal- 
culated to deceive ; it puts me in mind of your 
Bible and your religion. Like this deceptive 
picture, they may to you have the semblance of 
truth, as it has of substance and life, when they 
have nothing but illusive representations through 
an ingenious arrangement of light and shade. 
That picture professes to be a reality, when it is 
nothing but a pleasant deception ; and so it is 
also with the Bible and its religion." I replied : 
" I think the portrait is not claimed to be more 
than a faithful and true picture of the original, 
and not the original himself. It professes to 
show merely where the features of the original 
would be, and what they would be, were they 
in its place. And the Bible, with its religion, is 
claimed to be the inspired production of God, 
with design, as much so as the portrait is claimed 
to be the work of art with design. But no real 
deception is in either case intended ; nor will any 
be ever deceived by either that picture or the 
Bible, if common-sense be the rule to judge." 

There were some well-meaning Christians 
who took me to be a converted man, because I 
would argue in favour of Bible religion, and 
6 



82 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL, 



would weep, occasionally, while speaking on the 
subject. The fact is, I took the side of Christian- 
ity out of fear that the displeasure of God would 
be still more felt by me than it was, if I did not. 
True, I believed it to be from God, but did not 
enjoy it. I w r ept because of sorrow of heart that 
the wrath of God was abiding on me. I was 
told that I must look for wretchedness, as Paul 
declared himself a " wretched man." But I read 
that " there is no condemnation to them which 
are in Christ Jesus." I was determined if possi- 
ble, not to be deceived by any false hope. 

Under fear of the " wrath to come," I drag- 
ged along sorrow's " lengthening chain." I pined 
away to a mere skeleton, under the awful fore- 
bodings of an awakened conscience. The ap- 
proaching spring brought no charm with it to 
my torn breast. I was now approaching the 
age of thirty; and the days of youthful follies, 
sinful pleasures, and wasted opportunities were 
unrolled by the long scroll of memory to my 
view. The thought of growing old was grievous 
to one whose views had been so long bounded 
by the horizon of this present world. Then, the 
" long-lost hours" were mourned in fruitless 
regrets. That life that had floated through 
sweet hours, forever gone, was beyond recall. 
The gloomy day of a father's burial, when few 



CONVERSION. 



83 



were the strangers that gathered with the ob- 
scure, bereaved ones, at the grave of a beloved 
parent, whom my eyes were to see no more, drew 
its pall over my spirits; and I thought on the 
promises I had made to God, in tears, while 
hearing his word preached by the long-remem- 
bered, sainted Lybrand and Summerfield. J 
pondered the past sad hours spent in loneliness 
among the graves of the dead, on moonlight 
evenings, when no eye saw me but God's, with 
no hope of immortality, thinking that there the 
fire of mind must be quenched forever ; that 
there I must go down and lie ere long, and 
know not the stones or pebbles that shall be 
made companions of my coffin ; that there the 
checkered scenes of cloud and sunshine must 
come and go, but I shall heed them not ; that 
the snow-drift and the summer's calm, the tem- 
pest's howl at midnight, and the morning song 
of birds, will continue, with the rolling tide of 
living generations, but the pale nations never 
wake again into conscious being. Such were the 
spectres of the past that haunted me, and like 
"wandering ghosts" flitted through my brain. 

During the early part of the summer of 1833, 
a camp-meeting was held by the Methodists 
within a little more than two miles of my resi- 
dence. I had never in my life attended a camp- 



84 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



meeting, having been opposed to such meetings 
altogether. On Wednesday, of the camp-meet- 
ing week, I came to a full stand to engage no 
more in any secular business until I had made 
all possible efforts to save my soul. I was teach- 
ing school at the time ; and on the last Wednes- 
day in June I dismissed my school at noon, not 
to meet again until the next Monday morning. 
About one o'clock of that day I started on foot, 
and alone, for the camp-ground. I met one of 
my old infidel associates before I had gone far, 
who inquired " where I was going J" I told him 
" to camp-meeting." He wondered u why I want- 
ed to go there ?" "To seek religion, and to ob- 
tain that peace from God I felt the need of," was 
my reply. He responded, " Success to you," and 
with a loud and scornful laugh proceeded on his 
way, while I pursued mine. He soon after left 
his wife and children, enlisted in the United 
States Army — while I enlisted in that of King- 
Jesus — deserted, and became a dissipated va- 
grant, carrying out in practice his scoffing prin- 
ciples ! 

I walked on alone, meditating by the way. 
The depravity exhibited by my old friend gave 
additional proof of the need of religion. How 
true it is that no man can do harm to others 
without first doing harm to himself! I quickened 



CONVERSION. 



85 



my pace as I took my way toward the camp- 
ground. It was in the rosy month of June, and 
nature was dressed in her richest robes. As I 
left the noise of the city behind, I was the more 
absorbed in thought on the goodness of God as 
it appeared in his works. It was a little before 
the afternoon preaching commenced when I first 
beheld the tents, contrasting their whiteness with 
the green foliage of the tall trees. But when I 
heard the earnest prayers of God's people, I felt 
pride in my heart rebelling against God. It is 
not natural for man to worship in a right man- 
ner the true God. While standing in front of 
the large tent, my nearest neighbour, being in 
the tent, came out, and took hold of me by the 
coat-collar, and said : u 0, John ! you know you 
feel bad ; and we have been praying for you for 
some time ; and we mean to pray for you still. 
ISTow come along to the mourners' bench." With 
saying which he pulled me violently into the 
tent, weeping aloud the while. His tears and 
his bodily strength prevailed. His feelings were so 
powerful that I feared to resist them. I knew that 
there must be something of real importance that 
could make that man of blunt honesty cry over 
me as he did ! As I yielded to his importunity, 
I thought of the fact of once hearing him pray 
for me in secret, when he knew not that I was 



86 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

near him. I kneeled down among the straw — 
the most suitable place for a sinner like me I had 
ever found — and my heart was stormed with ir- 
repressible emotions ; but I could not pray. One 
after another prayed for me, and still I remained 
prayerless. I felt a desire to be hid away from 
human sight. I was afraid that the people of 
God would become tired of praying for me. But 
I remained in a kneeling position until the dusk 
of the evening, when I concluded I would sepa- 
rate myself from the praying people, and go 
home. While preparing to start, I found that 
some one through mistake had taken my hat, and 
left another of inferior quality in its place. This 
a little tried me for a few moments, when a lame 
old gentleman came limping along, much excited, 
with my hat, which he exchanged for his own ; 
and I was thankful. I then started for home, 
avoiding as much as possible being seen, as I 
had been at the mourners 7 bench, — sin yet making 
me ashamed of endeavouring to do what in the 
sight of God was right and acceptable to him. 
Why are sinners not ashamed to sin ? 

When home, I waited till all my family were 
fast asleep, and then I endeavoured to pray. I 
arose quickly from my knee- — for but one touched 
the floor — thinking that some one might be 
watching me through the windows. Securing 



CONVERSION. 



87 



them against this danger, I took off my boots to 
avoid any noise in the exercise I was about to 
engage in, I then took off my coat, and blew 
out the light, to be fully prepared for the great 
work I felt it my duty to perform. I finally 
went to bed without praying, thinking that I 
could as well pray in bed, when I immediately 
fell asleep. 

Early on Thursday morning I was again on my 
way to the camp-ground. Arriving there ere 
the sparkling dew had retired before the advanc- 
ing steps of day, I was soon again kneeling in 
the tent for the prayers of the people of God. 
The voice of one praying for me arrested my 
attention. It was the voice of one with whom I 
had long been acquainted — with whom I had 
associated in sin and folly. He had but a year 
previously made a profession of religion. His 
sincerity struck me forcibly. Who can know 
what sincerity is, but those who realize its nature 
within them ? I rose up, and requested him to 
follow me a little way off into the woods. When 
we were together alone, in a place of deep shade, 
I said to him, " Aaron, tell me as plainly as you 
can how you obtained religion." He replied, 
" I am very weak, and will go and bring some 
one here to you who knows more than I do." 
"No," said I, "Aaron, I want one to teach me, 



88 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



who knows no better than to tell me what he 
knows about salvation." " Well then," said he, 
" go into the tent, and tell your whole heart to 
the brethren, that they may know how to pray 
for you." After Aaron had prayed for me in 
our lonely retreat, we both went back to the 
tent ; and I, after kneeling awhile, arose to com- 
ply with his instructions. It was a great trial; 
as I thought the confidence of the brethren 
would be shaken in me, as my hardness of heart 
and stubbornness of will should be unfolded to 
them. I was of opinion that all true seekers of 
religion have pure and good thoughts, and I 
had bad ones; and honesty compelled me to 
confess this truth to them. After making a dis- 
closure of my state of mind to them, I expected 
to hear them say : " Now you had better take 
your hat and go home, for you are not a true 
penitent!" But after I had told them all my 
heart on the subject, they with great tenderness 
encouraged me more than ever. My mind thus 
unburdened, I felt an increase of energy to per- 
severe. After kneeling down again I was tempted 
much. An aged female prayed for me, which 
was so mortifying to me — to have a woman 
publicly pray for me — that I for a while contem- 
plated going with my family away from the neigh- 
bourhood, to avoid the disgrace. 



CONVERSION'. 



89 



I continued most of the day on my knees seek- 
ing the " pearl of great price but to the faith 
that saves I was yet a stranger " shut up.'' 

In the evening of that clay the lamented Rev. G. 
G. Cookman preached, and I remained to hear him. 
That evening — as many may yet remember— 
the devil gathered his forces, who attacked the 
encampment armed with stones. But the bold- 
ness and mighty spirit of Mr. Cookman, while 
preaching from these words, "The sword of the 
Lord and of Gideon," inspired me with fresh 
courage to persevere; while the wicked ceased 
their uproar, and were intimidated in prosecuting 
their unholy purposes by the holy awe heard in 
the thunder of his voice, as it fell on the thousands 
gathered in the woods that night. 

While on my way home, in company with a 
local preacher, I had good advice given me about 
the need of praying myself, before I could expect 
to enjoy religion. I was told that I must be 
willing to confess Christ before men, before I 
could be his disciple. 

On the morning of the 28th of June; the last 
day of the meeting, I rose up early, the most 
disheartened and sin-burdened creature, it ap- 
peared to me, of all I had ever known. To an 
inquiry made to me by my wife, " How I liked 
camp-meeting V I replied : " I wish to hear no 



90 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



more about camp-meetings, nor the Methodists ; 
they have caused me more trouble than every- 
thing else on earth besides." The temptation 
under which I laboured was grievous. I looked 
into the Bible ; but it seemed to me a strange 
book, more suitable to others than to me. Dark 
thoughts of suicide were lurking in the secret 
depths of my heart ! I felt that my life would be 
short if salvation did not come to my relief soon. 

After a few moments of sober, solemn reflec- 
tion, I regretted what I had said about the 
Methodists and camp-meetings, and resolved 
anew to persevere in seeking the salvation of my 
soul. To this end, and in view of this object, I 
declared openly that I would never eat nor drink 
anything more until the question then pending 
between God and my soul was settled. If sal- 
vation was for me, I intended, if possible, to know 
it soon ; if not, I desired even to know this also. 
Again I set off for the camp-ground, in com- 
pany with the powerful brother that had pulled 
me into the tent. He was the kind of company 
I needed ; and I had listened at the keyhole of 
a door once, and heard him pray for me, which 
made me love him the more. 

During that day I heard preaching with an 
attentive ear. With smugglings of soul I prayed 
for myself, as I was bowed at the altar ; and the 



CONVERSION, 



9. 



prayers of the people of God for me were fervent. 
My resolution to go without food and drink, until 
I should obtain the bread and drink which is unto 
eternal life, remained firm. The conflict with the 
enemy was desperate until about four o'clock in 
the afternoon, when Satan seemed almost more 
than a match for a while. I was yielding to hor- 
rid despair, and retired a short distance from the 
encampment, to a solitary place, where a decayed 
log afforded me a seat — sad emblem of my wi ther- 
ing hopes ! I was emaciated, and weary of labour 
and of life. I anticipated being soon among the 
ruined and the lost. I thought I had done all 
that I possibly could, without success. I had a 
sharp knife in my vest-pocket. Its piercing point 
had already been in my thoughts, in premedita- 
tion; and now the hour had come when I ex- 
pected it would penetrate my heart! It was 
taken out for this object, and examined ; and the 
locality of the beating heart tested by my right 
hand, after the vest had been thrown open for the 
purpose. A stone lay there before me, of hollow 
surface, which was about being stained with the 
suicide's blood ! While in terrible suspense, an 
intelligible voice, not of audible sound, seemed to 
say, "Why will you slay yourself? Your an- 
guish is of a spiritual kind — it is not agony of 
body — it is sin in the soul; and disuniting soul 



92 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL, 



and body will give no relief, while it will place 
both forever beyond redeeming power." This 
new intelligence was from God, who delighteth 
in mercy ; and this mercy was timely and avail- 
ing, and I profited by it. 

"With fresh hope I made my way to the 
"preachers' stand," w 7 here there was a prayer- 
meeting. I requested a brother, whose voice had 
to me feeling in it, (now the Rev. Wesley Robert- 
son, of the New-Jersey Conference,) to pray for 
me. While he was engaged in praying I adopted 
his words as my own. I realized as he prayed 
for me the thoughts of my heart expressed in his 
prayer. Borne along thus to the throne of grace, 
I apprehended the Lord Jesus Christ bearing in 
himself my sins. Instantly I felt entirely un- 
burdened ! All trouble was gone. I had peace 
such as I never before had enjoyed. My spirit 
was free; and I wondered, and was glad, and 
thankful that I had not shed my own blood ! 

Temptations soon came; but by faith they 
were overcome. Yielding up all to Christ, 
there was in a few minutes poured out upon me 
a baptism of the Holy Ghost, fresh from the 
third heaven! I praised God aloud. I said, 
"Blessed Jesus! Glory to Jesus!" with feelings 
I could not repress. The world seemed all new 
and shining from the " Spirit's garnishing." 



GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 93 



CHAPTER VI. 

GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 

If we stand clear, in a justified state, and are pressing 
on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God 
in Christ Jesus, we shall soon be brought into deep con- 
viction of mind, for holiness of heart and life. — Dr. Levtxgs. 

I had not been long in the school of Christ be- 
fore I learned from his teaching, that true relig- 
ious experience is a continued progress, sustained 
and carried on by the joint concurrence of both 
God and man — God in Christ, by his Spirit, in 
connexion with man through Jesus, by faith. 
This advance is not merely in a multiplication of 
duties and responsibilities, but in an increase of 
knowledge, in enlargement and refinement of 
soul — a growth in usefulness for the present life, 
and in fitness for the next. Without such prog- 
ress, in some degree, I feared I could not avoid 
lukewarm ness nor apostasy. And what real 
Christian feels prepared to be " at ease in Zion ?" 

At the time of my conversion- — as before al- 
luded to — while the Rev. Wesley Robertson was 
praying, particularly for me, I used his words in 
my mind as my own, in my approaches unto 
God, thus, as it were, climbing up to the throne 



94 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



of grace by them, through the Mediator, Jesus 
Christ, whom evidently they set before me. I 
had then a spiritual vision. There seemed to be 
before me an exceeding high mountain, the sum- 
mit of which was lost in the distance. It was 
crowned with a bright cloud that shed an amber 
light around the eternal hill ; and midway there 
shone, in heavenly radiance, one of the loveliest of 
all faces ever seen ! — like unto that of the Son of 
man. This benignant countenance seemed smil- 
ing upon me while I prayed, with no earthly 
smile. A voice from its lips came to my soul, 
saying, u Look on me P 5 Instantly I thought on 
the once dying but now risen Saviour, who is 
alive forever more ! I thought of the glory of 
God the Father, shining in the face of Jesus 
Christ. I believed, and was changed in heart 
suddenly. I now saw men as trees walking, but 
did not know what to make of this strange ab- 
sence of all guilt and care. It was to me en- 
tirely new, and I did not know it was religion. 
The witness of the Spirit I shortly after received. 
I had just been tempted with the thought, " that 
Christ might, at last, himself be overthrown !" 
wdien a shudder, and an agony of prayer, were 
succeeded by the following passages of Scripture 
coming to my mind : " Other foundation can no 
man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ 



GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 95 

"For there is none other name under heaven 
given among men whereby we must be saved." 
I knew not whether I had read the above passages 
in seven years. They were now brought to my 
aid at a time of need, and were " profitable " to 
me. 

Unitarianism is very near of kin to deism. 
With me it received its quietus in the first wit- 
ness I received of pardon in Jesus Christ. It is 
a form of error natural to unregenerate man, 
but which the changed heart, while adhering to 
the principles of its new life, will resist, I praised 
the name of Jesus with feelings inspired by it, 
and not natural to me ; and the more I praised 
him the more intense my desire became to do so. 
And I have never in the least — and I have not 
neglected self-examination — felt any guilt or 
heaviness come over my spirits because of my 
sincere desire and efforts to glorify Christ as God 
— as the " true God," and " eternal life." Does 
God allow sincere idolaters to possess the same 
purity of motive, spirituality of mind, and power 
with him in prayer, that he does give to his 
children? Does he look upon truth and error 
with an " equal eye V Would the Holy Ghost 
witness in the heart to the faith which recog- 
nises as God over all, the Lord Jesus Christ, 
were he not supreme ? Let such questions find 



96 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



an answer in this : " He that believeth on the Son, 
hath the witness in himself." 

When I first rose up to praise God, who had 
" begotten me again unto a lively hope," it ap- 
peared to me that myriads of happy spirits 
were thronging the consecrated enclosure. The 
spirituality of religion had not only changed my 
heart, but given a glow of beauty to the external 
appearance of things. The sun, which before 
gave a feverish and sickly light, now beamed 
with a brighter effulgence. The summer, green 
everywhere around, had charms new and de- 
lightful ; and the thousands of leaves of the 
forest were nature's tongues, eloquent with praises 
to God. " A sea of glory " rolled its waves over 
me, and I could not calm the turbulence of my 
joy. I kept on shouting " Glory to God !" with 
but little pow r er to roll back the tide that swelled 
and flowed in upon me. So I continued until 
nearly sunset. I then walked out slowly, with 
my eyes partly closed, in order, as much as pos- 
sible, to allay the excitement of overwhelming 
rapture under which I laboured. A preacher — 
I think the late Rev. J. Buckley — exhorting from 
the stand at the time, in a very happy frame of 
mind, imparted such a feeling to the two follow- 
ing lines, especially in my case, as he repeated 
them — 



GROWTH in CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 97 

u what hath. Jesus bought for me ! 
Before my ravish/ d eyes " — 

that I hardly knew whether I was in the body 
or out of it. I again burst forth in praises so 
loud and frequent that I certainly would have 
sunk down with exhaustion, had not God strength- 
ened me to bear it. I, therefore, from a sense of 
prudence, being unable to suppress my noise, 
walked home, between two brethren, resting 
upon their arms, praising God along the way. 

When near home I lost my testimony. Like 
the pilgrim in Bunyan's dream, I felt in my 
bosom for my roll, and found it not, and I was 
alarmed. My good friends had advised me to 
tell my wife what the Lord had done for me, and 
now I had lost the witness, and what could I 
tell her ? I was again sad, and leaned against a 
fence, like a weeping child. I tried, by ardent 
prayer, to raise my heart to the point of faith, 
but my efforts were vain. At length, after sob- 
bing awhile over my trouble, I resolved to serve 
God from principle, without happy feelings, if he 
chose, for my good, not to inspire me with them ; 
or to suffer the devil for a season, if need be, to 
buffet me. So I journeyed on my way home- 
ward, determined to do the best I could in the 
service of God, under all circumstances, and at 
all times. 

7 



98 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



Immediately on entering the door of my resi- 
dence, I said to my wife, in compliance with in- 
structions received, "Mary, I have got what I 
went for." The words were scarcely uttered be- 
fore I was assailed with the temptation that I 
had said a very foolish thing. My wife inquired, 
" Well, what have you got ?" This was to me a 
most trying moment, as the "witness" I had 
lost had not yet returned ; and the predicament 
I was in made the perspiration break out pro- 
fusely upon me, through mortification. I, with 
rallied resolution, at length declared aloud, " I 
know that the Lord did convert my soul at the 
camp-meeting, and that I was not deceived." 
Instantly the charm of Satan was broken, faith 
revived, and the spirit of liberty was enjoyed to 
as great a degree as on the camp-ground. Con- 
fession and faith go together. They cannot well 
be separated from the heart that would retain and 
enjoy experimental Christianity ; they must both 
be exercised at once when circumstances call 
for it. 

I walked round the room praising God. 
Everything seemed to be new — furniture, wife, 
children, and all. Then I spoke tender, loving 
words to my wife, telling her not to be dis- 
couraged, for I believed that my conversion was 
all for the best. "Well," said she, "I am glad 



GROWTH IX CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 99 

of it." Some neighbours, hearing " the news" of 
my conduct at the camp-meeting, had stepped in 
to see the " dead alive, and the lost found," and 
gravely opined that I had been drinking beer. 
A Methodist — the one who had pulled me into 
the tent — had accompanied me home, and had 
been a witness to my conversion, said, " No, my 
friends, I can assure you, he has been drinking 
nothing but the wine of the kingdom." 

After conversation, singing, and experience- 
telling, in compliance with " Mary's " wish, I sat 
down and ate supper, the first food or drink I 
put into my mouth in twenty-four hours. The 
time for retiring approached, and I took down 
the Bible to read, and said, " Now I am going to 
commence family worship, and I expect to con- 
tinue it while I live." In this my wife readily 
joined me, and I kneeled down and prayed to 
God for his mercy to rest upon us, thanking him 
for what I had experienced that day, and that 
my family and all my relations might in sin- 
cerity and truth serve the Most High. Sweet, 
indeed, was my sleep on that first night after my 
soul's espousals to God. In the night I awoke, 
and induced my wife to kneel down, and I pray- 
ed for her soul's conversion. 

The morning of the 29th came, and I awoke 
from a most refreshing sleep. Soon the sugges- 



100 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

tion was started in my mind that the devil, 
during the night, might have stolen out of my 
heart the "good seed.'' This temptation was 
soon overcome by faith. 

It had been given out that a love-feast would 
be held on the camp-ground, on Saturday morn- 
ing, and I made all necessary preparations to be 
there. On my way thither the grass, the flowers, 
the cattle, and the birds, all seemed to be full of 
praise. When I arrived at the camp-ground I 
looked around to see what kind of a feast a love- 
feast could be, for I knew but very little of 
Methodism. After the bread and water had 
passed round, I soon partook of the dainties of 
the feast, until my heart was filled to overflowing, 
and my "mouth with arguments." 

Many at the love-feast, in relating their experi- 
ence, had occasion to allude to the means and 
manner of their becoming Methodists. This 
started my thoughts on the subject of my duty 
to join some branch of the Church of Christ. 
This duty I had not previously considered, my 
whole desire having been absorbed in the seeking 
of the salvation of my soul. From what I heard 
at the love-feast, and the need I felt of spiritual 
helps and instruction, I resolved to connect my- 
self, if I could, with some branch of the Christian 
Church. My natural inclination, I am disposed 



GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 



101 



to think, would have led me to stand alone ; but 
I had already too long walked by the rule of 
nature. It w T as time that grace should now pre- 
vail. But which branch ought I to unite with ? 
occupied my mind on my way home. The 
several advantages w r hich the various Churches in 
the city would afford me were taken into con- 
sideration. The Methodist Church had fre- 
quent prayer-meetings, class-meetings, love-feasts, 
preaching w T ith power, without notes, and free- 
seats. For a while my mind hung in suspense, 
when I considered that in these respects other 
Churches differed from the Methodist. I rather 
inclined to go where there would be for me more 
" ease," more respectability, and less persecution. 
But I made the question, which Church I should 
unite with? a subject of prayer to God. The 
conviction that God had made Methodism the 
means of my conversion, was a strong argument 
dissuading me against leaving Methodism. But 
I had been told, "that the government of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church was tyrannical — that 
the bishops were ambitious of power, lording it 
over God's heritage." Tyranny I hated, and al- 
ways meant to hate ; but whether the Methodist 
bishops w r ere tyrannical or not, was another con- 
sideration. I had found out that some other 
grave charges against the Methodists, entertained 



102 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



by some people who knew as much about them 
as an infidel does of purity of heart, were without 
foundation in truth ; and whether this charge, also, 
of tyranny and ambition, might not be false, was 
a subject to be duly considered, before the verdict 
should be rendered. I procured a " Discipline," 
and read it that afternoon, and found it contained 
many things not at all in accordance with re- 
ports about it, made by its enemies. I became 
convinced that whatever might be right for others 
to do, it was right for me to join the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, and that soon. 

I repaired immediately to the residence of the 
Rev. L. Higgins, then colleague of the Rev. G. 
G. Cookman, in the Newark charge, and found 
both those gentlemen at the parsonage. After 
relating to them my conversion, I expressed my 
desire and intention of then and there uniting 
with the Church. I was told that on Sabbath 
morning an opportunity would be given me. 
But I persisted in my purpose, saying, that " To- 
morrow morning is not mine, and now I feel it 
my duty to join the Church." My name was 
accordingly placed on the Church record, and I 
have had but one regret in this connexion, that I 
have not lived more fully up to all the privileges 
afforded me, in this form of Christ's kingdom on 
earth, so manifestly blessed with God's reviving 



GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 103 



power in its midst. This Church, I believe, con- 
tains all the essential elements of ultimate uni- 
versal prevalency and triumph of the gospel on 
earth. The Methodist Church is called upon to 
be a " bright and shining light " — a lamp that 
burneth amid other Churches — leading them on 
in the way of experience and holiness, to final 
conquest and glory. And if our Church shall re- 
fuse to do this, God will raise up another people, 
ere long, that will be foremost in the march of 
the armies militant. 

On Sunday morning, as I was on my way to 
the house of God, it appeared as though I had 
never seen a Sabbath before. In every direction 
multitudes were wending their way to the differ- 
ent places of public worship, and I thought of the 
Lord of the Sabbath, who had set apart the 
seventh portion of time for purposes purely de- 
votional, and hallowed it. Entering the " gates of 
Zion " for the first time with my eyes opened, 
my heart desired to dwell " where God had com- 
manded his blessings forever more." The preach- 
ing of the word was to my soul "life and spirit." 

In the afternoon of the same day, I heard Mr. 
Cookman. He was in the Spirit, and the power 
of God overpowered my physical strength, and 
I sank down in a swoon under it. The first in- 
timation I had of this state was the sudden 



104 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



dropping clown of my hand from the top of the 
back of the pew, where I had placed it, and this 
being accompanied with the absence of all sensa- 
tion in the limb. I could not raise it ; and my 
vision and hearing became quite indistinct. My 
mind, all the while, was in a state like unto a de- 
licious dream. On the return of my bodily 
strength I began to have a faint view of Mr. 
Cookman, and his voice became gradually more 
distinct and audible, as though he were approach- 
ing nearer and nearer, from a distance, until I 
heard him say to the congregation, 44 The Lord 
works in his own way." Seeing the people in 
the gallery looking down intently upon me, I 
arose and said, " This is no delusion, this is no 
delusion and sat down in sweet peace of mind. 

On Monday evening succeeding the Sabbath 
just alluded to, I met in a general prayer-meet- 
ing, Mr. Cookman being in the altar leading. 
After singing, Mr. Cookman, on kneeling down, 

said, " Brother S , you will please pray with 

us." I was frightened. Many of my old ac- 
quaintances were present, and how could I pray 
before them ? My prayer was one of the most 
crooked and clumsy ever framed ; after which an 
aged member of the Church commenced praying 
thus, " Lord, teach him how to pray." Some- 
time afterward, I ascertained that my crooked 



GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 105 

prayer had no bad effect upon my friends, they 
being convinced it was not dictated with a desire 
to make a display. 

Under the warm and delightful impressions of 
first love, it appeared that I could almost talk 
religion into the unconverted. With a heart full 
to overflowing, I went to talk with my mother. 
I said, " O mother, I am converted and happy, 
I wish you had religion, mother." She replied, 
" Now, see what you have got by going with the 
Methodists ! Did I not tell you to keep away 
from them V I left her, resolved to pray for her. 
Shortly after she sent for me, feeling deep con- 
viction on account of sin, which increased until 
she was converted ; and then she was a Method- 
ist too. 

At an early date in my religious life, I was 
brought to see the importance of performing acts 
not pleasing to flesh and blood. I had, at some 
period previous to my conversion, used abusive 
language to a physician, — a gentleman also of 
warm temperament, — and I felt it my duty to go 
and make my apology to him for my conduct. 
The doctor, with tears, expressed perfect satisfac- 
tion, and has ever since evinced toward me con- 
fidence and kindness. 

Another person, of high passions, who had 
been ridiculed in print by me, suspected me, and 



106 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL, 

had expressed vengeance. I felt anxious to have 
the matter settled. One day, walking leisurely 
along beneath the " aged elms," I was just about 
meeting the irritable man, where no one at the 
time was near us. A startled feeling of dis- 
agreeable surprise passed over my nerves as we 
drew near, and I perceived rage in his counte- 
nance. I said, " Friend F , a word to you, 

if you please." He did not answer, nor heed 
me. I continued : " Sir, I know I have injured 
you, and want to make amends, as God has 
shown mercy to me." He turned his head and 
wiped away a tear, saying he could not remain 
angry with a man of such a spirit. 

Some of my religious friends, fearing that I 
would be "righteous overmuch," enticed me 
away to where there was a political meeting, held 
in a large room of a tavern, that I might there 
" render unto Csesar the things that be Caesar's." 
The meeting was composed of " all sorts and 
sizes," and my mind was absorbed with the 
things of religion. Something being said about 
the banner, by the orator on the occasion, I 
thought so loudly on the " Banner of the Cross," 
that I praised God ! Finding I had no business 
there, I soon left the scene of political fooleries, 
thinking, with regret, on the fact that young con- 
verts are often led away from their steadfastness 



GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 107 



by the influence of political jugglery, played off 
upon them by demagogues and office-seekers ; 
and they grow lukewarm and cold, and are found, 
in a short time, like stranded wrecks along the 
coast of life's probationary sea. 

In my justified state I was more happy than I 
had anticipated while a seeker, for I then had 
conjectured that I had laughed for the last time. 
I had, as yet, read no doctrinal works on vital 
piety, nor Christian biography. The Bible, for 
a few weeks after my conversion, was nearly all 
I read. Wesley and his coadjutors, in their 
labours and writings, with some slight exceptions, 
were to me unknown. I learned from the Book 
of God, and my own heart, more concerning 
natural depravity, than while I was altogether 
under its sway. Of the original languages in 
which the Scriptures were written, T was ignorant ; 
and this grieved me, for if I had paid that atten- 
tion to learning which I might have done, some 
knowledge of Greek and Hebrew might have 
been attained. The Spirit, however, had " taken 
of the things of Christ" and shown them unto 
me. Through atoning blood I had been re- 
deemed, and the precious promises had led me 
to partake of the divine nature. In honest search 
after truth, I became convinced that the religion 
of the Bible reached further still than the forgive- 



108 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

ness of sins. I saw signs in my nature that it 
lacked that holiness others had enjoyed. The 
first sign I discovered of this lack was, to laugh 
at an old black man, who, for his want of sense, 
and his love of rum, was made the butt of ridi- 
cule for wicked boys. For nearly a whole day I 
was in anxiety of mind for laughing at "poor 
old Joe;" and yet, wdien he turned on the boys 
such a characteristic look over his shoulder, and 
said, " You tink I 'm a fool ! Yes, and I know 
odders dat tink so too" — it was almost enough 
to make Job, in his affliction, laugh. For him, 
too, Christ had died ; and I was in distress because 
the carnal mind in me was not destroyed. I 
lacked the " faith of assurance," which is always 
connected with an inward work, constantly car- 
ried on by the Holy Spirit; and, although ad- 
vised by some professors not to trouble myself 
about such things, I loved my conviction more 
than their unsafe counsel. My heart, to me, 
seemed worse than my outward conduct would 
manifest I found the law had no saving efficacy 
upon me, whenever I strove to obey it in a 
saving way. It pointed out defects which nothing 
could remedy but faith in Christ. Conscience 
was not made pure, nor kept in a pure state, by 
endeavours to obey the law ; and continual for- 
giveness, by faith, did not reach far enough to 



GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 109 

answer the need felt of salvation. This need of 
holiness of heart, this state of grace promised, 
was before my mind. My chief hinderances to 
this blessing I ascertained to be inward corrup- 
tion, temptation, and the apparent unconcern on 
the subject of some of the best unsanctified Chris- 
tians. Against these hinderances I arrayed my 
desire for holiness, the promises of God to cleanse, 
and the effects of compliance or refusal on my 
heart and life — consequences endless and awful. 

One pleasant evening, after the sun was set, 
I retired from all noise and bustle to a solitary 
place, with the view of seeking from God what I • 
felt the need of. Over an unsanctified heart 
during* the day I had mourned, and to be alone 
with God was befitting me. I prayed thus, in 
substance : " God ! I am in nakedness of soul 
before thee. Thy piercing, scrutinizing eye is 
upon me. Thy wrath but a little while ago 
rested on my guilty soul, as I looked out upon 
the 'blackness of darkness' before me.' I called 
on thy blessed name in prayer, for the sake of thy 
Son Jesus Christ, to have mercy on me. I be- 
lieved, and mercy came. Now I come again, 
through the Crucified, feeling the need of a pure 
heart. I desire an abiding principle of holiness 
within me. I feel assured thou wilt not send me 
away empty," I remained on my knees about 



110 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



half an hour, after making a vow not to rise until 
I had received the witness that God had answered 
my petition. Assurance was imparted to me in 
a way I did not expect. "When first converted, I 
was overwhelmed by a torrent ; now, I was so sur- 
rounded and pervaded by the presence of God, 
that there was, indeed, " a great calm." My 
soul was filled with wondrous, heavenly love. I 
rose up, and went home in a delightful frame. I 
opened the Bible; but 0, the rivers of living- 
water that seemed to gush forth from the promises 
of life, to the rich supply of all my spiritual 
wants ! 

But a short time had elapsed after this re- 
freshing season from the presence of the Lord, 
when in a general class-meeting, speaking of the 
work of grace I had experienced, I said that 
" Christ, of God, was made unto me sanctifica- 
tion, as well as righteousness, wisdom, and re- 
demption ;" and that " I had received the faith of 
assurance, and could not backslide, being kept 
by the power of God, and should be kept." The 
next day, meeting with an intelligent and pious 
member of the Church, who had been present at 
the general class-meeting, he told me that my 
language had not conveyed to him definitely the 
true state I seemed to enjoy. " You were," said 
he, " a little unguarded in your expressions. You 



GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. Ill 

cannot, my brother, have faith now that will keep 
you to-morrow ; for faith is a present exercise, 
and the future is not yet. And although God 
is unchangeable in his goodness, our present 
believing does not make us infallible, nor assure 
us of our steadfastness in the future." I acknowl- 
edged his correction to be just and proper, and 
thanked him for it, praising God for class-meet- 
ings, made by him the means of such wholesome 
instruction. How much of the advance in re- 
ligious experience, enjoyed by the Methodists, is 
attributable to class-meetings. 

I still clung to the faith of assurance, by which 
I endeavoured every moment to apprehend the 
Saviour keeping me from both guilt and corrup- 
tion, in Spirit and in truth. By justification I 
was free from guilt; by sanctification I was free 
from corruption ; and by faith, at the same time, 
from the same source, I realized these " parts to 
be of one stupendous whole." 

By one Spirit, of one Lord, through one faith, 
the witness was received — of sanctification and 
justification — and yet these blessings w T ere dis- 
tinctly discriminated, the one from the other, as 
colours inherent in one ray of light by a prism are 
seen to be distinct^ the one colour from all the rest. 
This witness I found to be nothing less than the 
Holy Spirit dwelling in me, in light, truth, purity, 



112 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

and love. The name of it I did not know ; for 
I had not formed in my mind any theory of it. 
The witness of it, by the Spirit, 1 regarded as of 
much more importance than the technical terms so 
often employed to set it forth. 

This state did not place me beyond the reach 
of temptation, but rather increased the activity of 
Satanic influence upon me; and yet gave me 
discernment and power to detect and resist the 
adversary. I soon was led to set apart one day 
in the week for fasting; although I well knew 
that "by the deeds of the law" I could not 
preserve my soul in life, nor could I expect to 
keep the law perfectly while on earth ; for the 
view I took of the case was, that I was a sinner 
passing through the saving process, carried on by 
the ever-glorious Trinity ; and, therefore, submit- 
ting to this process, my faith was counted to me 
for righteousness, that I might be blessed with 
faithful Abraham. I read the writings of Wes- 
ley and Fletcher on the subject, and " Watson's 
Institutes." They all strengthened me in the 
faith, and illustrated the utility and importance 
of fasting. Self-denial, for Christ's sake, cannot 
generally be practised in a more successful way 
than by fasting. In this duty, spiritual gifts and 
graces are called into exercise in no ordinary 
manner, and gain an ascendency over the attri- 



GROWTH m CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 113 

butes of the carnal mind to a degree not known 
by those who neglect its performance. Fasting, 
though of such importance, must not be earned 
too far. The time of abstinence from food, and 
the frequency of it, should be regulated by indi- 
vidual constitutions, and other circumstances. I 
have found fasting to be beneficial ; and believe 
there would be more of it among us were our 
bodies to be kept more under, to give freedom and 
energy to the Spirit. This was illustrated in a 
meeting once held preparatory to the commence- 
ment of a protracted effort. The brethren in fa- 
vour of a protracted meeting were requested to 
fast the ensuing day, and manifest their willing- 
ness by rising up to be counted. All rose up 
but one good brother. 

The time between justification and sanctifica- 
tion has occupied some of my attention and serious 
thought. I cannot see any need of a space of 
time intervening between the experience of one 
and the other. They are both alike necessary to 
the well-being of the soul; and the principal 
cause of pardon being enjoyed so often before 
purity is witnessed in the heart, is the instruction 
received to so look for them to come. There may 
be something in the fact, that moral pollution is 
not clearly seen until the pardon of guilt makes 
way for the light ; yet they both are obtained and 
8 



114 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



retained by faith in present exercise. Wesley 
held to the possibility of the simultaneous wit- 
ness of both justification and sanctification ; and 
I have known persons to testify to the fact in 
their own cases, and their lives evinced the best 
proof of the truth of their testimony. Certainly 
the promises of God do not favour the presump- 
tion that a space of time must intervene between 
the parts of a full preparation for usefulness and 
heaven ; and no portion of the w r ord of God as- 
sures us, that at a future time, if we wait, we shall 
" be made whole." 

The profession of sanctification is an important 
duty ; and to know how and when to make the 
profession is of great service to the believer. 
Not to profess it at all, is to avoid the enjoyment 
of it. u Light maketh manifest." " Ye are my 
witnesses," says Jesus; and though difficult, 
this kind of cross-bearing, still it must be done. 
God's work in believers always shines out, with 
" true light," in profession ; but then there are 
false lights, that profess what they do not possess, 
and such will claim the true ones as belonging to 
them ; and then cold and unsanctified Christians 
will oppose us as differing from themselves. So 
we will have to bear the reproach of the cross for 
Jesus's sake. And it is mortifying to stand 
where we are liable to all the charges of hypocrisy 



GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 115 

and enthusiasm, from the gainsaying, in the pro- 
fession we are called to make of the truth in us. 
I have found it necessary for me to hold such 
profession, in order to use fulness and fitness for 
heaven. This is the most delicate part of my 
duty to God : it must be performed, or his 
Spirit will be grieved. 

The fruits of the Spirit will show themselves 
when sanctifying grace abides in the heart, — are 
a sure though secondary evidence of the possession 
of this grace. The first fruit — or among the first 
— that appeared in my heart, after its renewal, 
was an abhorrence of sin, a loathing of self, and 
a love of holiness, in communion with Christ. 
Another was, a strong desire to be found at all 
times in faithful obedience to God, as far as his 
will concerning me could be ascertained. One 
more was, a happy conformity of mind to the 
gracious truths contained in Christ's Sermon on 
the Mount — forgiving injuries done me, loving 
enemies, and doing good to them who might 
despitefully use me. The tempers and disposi- 
tions, conformable to such truths, are of the 
sanctified. How magnanimous do such qualities 
appear, when contrasted with the tempers of 
those who are of this world ! They distinguish 
that kingdom of Jesus, which is not of this 
world, from every other kingdom. With such 



116 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



qualities, seeing him who is invisible, the follow- 
ers of Jesus envy not the glittering magnificence 
of surrounding worldly greatness. They seek, 
with assurance, a country brighter and more 
beautiful than the gardens of the present world, 
when robed in their richest attire. 

In my going on unto perfection, I received, in 
the beginning, much help from Mr. Cookman, in 
his preaching, and from his personal attentions to 
me. His faith was more than ordinary, and on 
some occasions it appeared almost miraculous. 
He took great pains to instruct me in the " more 
excellent way." The Rev. John Hersey, by his 
sweet spirit manifested on all occasions, was a 
help to me. His preaching, before sunrise, in the 
city of Newark, was to me the means of great 
good. In plainness of dress he might have gone 
too far, yet it was done for the sake of his 
Master. His sermon, on the last morning of his 
visit, made an indelible impression on my mind. 
It was in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 
Halsey-street. The coming judgment was the 
theme ; and as the sun was just rising, he stretched 
out his arms far over the pulpit, and declared with 
great feeling, " that he longed for the coming of 
the resurrection morn." Then, amid much weep- 
ing, I too felt weaned from the love of the pres- 
ent world. The Rev. E. S. Janes, now one of 



GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 117 

the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
gave me a clear view of the Spirit's sanctifying 
work. In a conversation on rny experience of 
religion, he explained in such a plain and simple 
manner the blessing of a clean heart, that im- 
pressions were then made upon my mind that 
have never left me. And reading, too, has been 
a help to me. I cannot believe, with some good 
men, that books written on the subject have been 
an injury ; although controversy, in warmth, has 
not, in general, had a sanctifying tendency. I 
read, with profit, Mahan, and Finney, " The Guide 
to Holiness," with its " cloud of witnesses," and 
Rev. Dr. George Peck's book, in an abridged 
form. From the perusal of this book I was en- 
abled to see, with some distinctness, the difference 
between a supposed perfection of our work for 
God, and of his work in us. It shows that the 
perfection of a remedy for sin in its application, 
operation, and experience, is more suitable for 
sinners than a supposed perfection of require- 
ment. The book does not abound in exciting 
matter, but it shows the solid truths and facts 
which must be the guide of all who, ultimately, 
may gain an entrance through the gates of pearl 
into the holy city. 

In the remembrance of my young experience 
in the things of grace, I find a pleasure not felt 



118 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

in the retrospections of past unbelief. I had long 
been sitting down in the cold shadow of the deep 
valley of death, that shadow, day by day, grow- 
ing more deep and gloomy around me. The 
Day-spring from on high visited me, and my wife 
became a partaker of the same joy. We de- 
lighted in all the means of grace, and were sel- 
dom absent from class-meeting, prayer-meeting, 
or the Sabbath services of the sanctuary. De- 
lightful days, still in pleasing remembrance ! 
Though poor, we had bread to eat that the world 
knew not of. Without a richly furnished par- 
lour, and splendid hall to our dwelling, we were 
happy in our narrow apartment, for we had an 
inheritance undefiled, in the mansions of day. 
In cheap attire we were comfortable, for we had 
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. 
In our humble situation we were contented, and 
would not have exchanged it for any other, the 
most wealthy in the world. We had Christ, 
and with him "all things." He it was that 
gave value to our food, clothing, shelter, friends — 
to our seeing, hearing, tasting — to our breathing, 
heart-beating, and healthful exercises of the body 
and soul. He impressed the value also on our 
sleeping, waking, thinking, and feeling. To the 
moments forming the stream of "life-time," 
bearing us onward to eternity's ocean, he gave 



GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 119 

value and currency, encouragement, and hope of 
future good. 

I believed in Jesus as fully as though I had 
myself seen him rise from the dead. My care 
was cast upon him, and I was confident all things 
were under his control — that he would manage 
all things for my good, while I thus believed in 
him. What though some might despise me for 
being poor ? the time would come, I was assured, 
when riches and poverty would be levelled together 
into eternal equality. O pleasant days of young 
experience ! I would not have them blotted 
from memory. Their cloudy scenes of tempta- 
tion and trial are brighter to me than the glow 
of sunshine that gilds the pleasures of worldly 
greatness. The long streets, in cloudy weather, 
dreary and dark, through " cold November rains,-' 
I deemed delightful, as they led me to the house 
of prayer. These I would prefer, elbowing my 
way along to God's holy temple, through the 
multitudes of the thoughtless and the gay, to the 
flowery walks and glittering avenues through 
which pride, blindfolded, is pressing its way to its 
final fall. Let all my sufferings be in the present, 
while my spirit is yet enshrined in its mould of 
clay, that there shall be none remaining to mar the 
future rest I expect to enjoy with the people of 
God, when the scenes of mortality with me shall 



120 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL, 



be closed, and death, the resurrection, and the 
final judgment are passed, and in the immortal 
memory to be reflected on by man forever and 
ever. " There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the 
people of God and to the certain attainment 
of that rest with the sanctified, blood-washed, and 
shining millions, let everything connected with 
my earthly existence tend, while travelling 
through the vale of tears. 



VISITS TO TAMMANY HALL. 



121 



CHAPTER VII. 

VISITS TO TAMMANY HALL. 

No dear love to foster, no kind friend to wrong, 
Wild as the mountain flood they drive along, 
And sweep, remorseless, every social bloom 
To the dark level of an endless tomb. — Clifton. 

The truth contained in the axiom, " Diamond 
cuts diamond," illustrates the peculiar adaptation 
of each individual Christian to the work to which 
he is called. This work cannot be performed by 
any except those appointed to it; and hence 
angels are not intrusted with the gospel of sal- 
vation to bear it as a message from God to sin- 
ners. Angels are not adapted to this work. 
Sinners need, in the messengers from God to 
them with " good tidings," " men of like passions' 5 
with themselves. This need is met in the pro- 
vision God has made. And hence, also, the vast 
variety of talents and gifts in the gospel ministry, 
suitable to every class of hearers. ISTot so great 
variety, probably, is found among any class of 
professional men, as among the gospel ministry, 
because not needed. As " diamond cuts dia- 
mond," so the heart of the drunkard, by cutting 



122 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

impressions made upon it by the reformed inebri- 
ate, is reached when other means would fail. On 
the same principle, a backslider is more likely to 
be moved to penitence by the instrumentality of 
a reclaimed backslider. This is a universal law 
among mankind, and holds good in all cases. 
Infidels are therefore more likely to be penetrated 
with saving truth through the instrumentality of 
converted infidels, than through other agencies. 
I have myself enjoyed a more intimate and re- 
ciprocal heart-correspondence with converted in- 
fidels than with any other class of Christians, 
notwithstanding my love toward, and union with, 
all God's people. Such, to some degree, were 
my emotions when I made prej)arations to visit 
my old friends, the deists, at " Tammany Hall." 

I had not long escaped from the black piratical 
vessel of infidelity, whose horrid ensign at mast- 
head bears the grinning death's head and cross- 
bones, and gone on board of the " old ship Zion," 
before I felt much anxiety for the fate of the 
crew I had left. The devil is their captain, and 
he will, if they escape not from under his flag, 
finally make them all walk the plank of unbe- 
lief, until they plunge from the end of it into the 
gulf of perdition ! To what an awful whirlpool 
are infidels madly driving ! — a vortex a thousand 
times more fearful than the far-known maelstrom 



VISITS TO TAMMANY HALL. 



123 



on the Norwegian coast ! Round the dizzy circle 
to the centre's deep abyss, — 

" Onward they drive in dreadful race, 
Pursuers and pursued." 

While I, in thankfulness to God, rejoiced that I 
had left their darkness and danger, and had come 
to where the " true light " shined, and perfect 
security from evil was guaranteed ; and where an 
opportunity was afforded for observation, with 
suitable instruments, so necessary for sea-faring 
men in order to a knowledge of position and 
direction, I still yearned with a desire for their 
welfare. I knew that many of them, in their 
secular dealings, were even more correct than 
some professors of religion. This I feared they 
leaned upon, and would be to them a broken reed 
that would pierce their hand. Their measuring 
their outward form of morality with that faulty 
part of character of those Christian professors in 
whom they placed no confidence, as genuine 
Christians, was to them a blinding operation, 
and a stumbling-block ; for it is the policy of the 
devil to pick out the worst professors, and hold 
them up as a standard of Christian excellence. 
In waging war against the Lord Jesus Christ 
and his Church, he often leads bad men into this 
Church in order to make fools of as many as he 



124 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

can, by prevailing on them to make an estimate 
of religion by this false rule, that he may lay the 
blame on our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus bad 
representatives of the religion of the Bible do 
more harm, infinitely, than all the efforts com- 
bined, put forth by all classes of infidels. What 
could infidels say or do, to any seeming amount, 
in their opposition to the truth, were every pro- 
fessor on earth a true follower, in all things pos- 
sible, of our Lord Jesus Christ? Feeling the 
force of this fact, I wished to hold up to their 
view, if possible, my own renewed heart, that 
they might have some proof of Christ's work and 
power to save. I had but little confidence of 
their being much benefited by mere historical evi- 
dence. The "Evidences 57 of Archdeacon Paley, 
and the Apology for the Bible by the Bishop of 
Llandaff, and " Leslie's Method with the Deists," 
are profitable for Christians to read ; but they are 
weak in the conversion of infidels. These works 
are mere moonshine, glittering upon the ice- 
castles of the infidel's intellect. They seldom 
elicit fire enough to thaw the ice that incrusts 
the cold heart of unbelief. The fountain of infi- 
delity is in the heart — depraved and festering. 
This -central part of man's existence must be first 
struck by the stroke of divine truth before it 
" moves aright." The infidel, like other sinners, 



VISITS TO TAMMA5Y HALL. 125 

needs a sin-killing shock of spiritual power, from 
the Source of being, to pass through him. He 
needs to touch, by faith, the conductors that draw 
down upon man the force of saving truth from 
the divinely-erected battery on high. The old 
fortifications of his heart must be dismantled by 
the enginery of the word, and the strong man 
armed must be overcome by a stronger than 
he. Anatomical investigations and explana- 
tions will not effect a cure for a diseased man. 
So also it is in a spiritual sense. Experience, 
related in the demonstration of the Spirit, will do 
more than all the ethical argumentation in the 
world. I recollected how such a course had 
affected me ; on one occasion, especially, when I 
had felt the conviction of the truth in this way, 
not easily to be forgotten. I went once to a sim- 
ple-hearted Methodist for the express purpose of 
inducing him, by argument, to give up his faith 
in- Christ's religion, telling him that he was cer- 
tainly the dupe of cunning priestcraft ; that it 
would do him as much good to believe what the 
newspapers contained, as what the Bible did. In 
this I acknowledge myself to have been deceived, 
and on that ground made efforts to deceive 
others. But my Methodist friend, though not 
talented nor learned, having the truth of saving 
grace in his heart, was more than a match for 



126 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



my infidel sophistry. He said in reply : " John, 
I know better ; I have got the witness here P* 
placing his hand upon his heart. And this re- 
ply of his was accompanied with such a look, 
that it left an impression on my mind more to 
the purpose than all the cold evidences I have 
ever read in the theories and speculations on the 
subject by unconverted learned authors. 

I was informed that the principal deists of 
New-York city assembled every Sabbath morning 
in Tammany Hall, as an "Association of Phi- 
lanthropists," to discuss questions on "True and 
Fabulous Theology." I was acquainted with 
many of them, who were in the habit of coming 
over to Newark to hold meetings with us in 
former days. I had never met with them in 
Tammany Hall ; and now, being converted to the 
religion of Christ, I had a strong desire to tell 
them of it at their own place of meeting. 

The first time I entered the Hall of "Old 
Tammany " was on a bright Sabbath morning, 
when all nature seemed full of life and loveliness, 
contrasting strongly with the darkness and death 
in the minds of the infidel throng that was gather- 
ing at the place. I felt a strange sensation, fear- 
ful it might not be right and proper to spend 
God's holy day in such a manner. However, I 
yielded to inclination, and ascended the stairs 



VISITS TO TAMMANY HALL. 127 

leading into the Hall. I gave my " three cents " to 
gain an entrance among the infidels, and took my 
seat. After a few minutes, an elderly man, one of 
the chief managers, moderators, and actors among 
them, with whom I had formed a slight acquaint- 
ance on former occasions, by the name of Benjamin 
OfFen, rose and commenced his harangue. Mr. 
Often, I have been informed, has departed this 
life, entertaining his deistical sentiments to the 
last : so his friends seemed to think ; but whether 
infidel sentiments can with composure of mind 
be cherished in a dying hour, is exceedingly 
doubtful. It is due to him to say, that, as far as 
I was able to ascertain the fact, he bore a good 
moral character for honesty and fair dealing with 
his fellow-man. What a pity he refused to " ren- 
der to God the things that are God's." His ad- 
dress at that time had not anything in it very 
remarkable. He was a shrewd deist, with con- 
siderable historical knowledge within his mem- 
ory's available reach, with ready utterance; 
but there was a characteristic infidel blunt- 
ness about him — a coarseness, which was to the 
good taste of the hearers unpleasant. He com- 
menced by saying : " The Bible is solely the pro- 
duction of man — of priestcraft, which through 
remote ages of the world has had existence. 
Bible religion, as it is called, is a system of non- 



128 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



sense. The Christian system is, from its very 
nature, calculated to operate injuriously upon the 
ignorant and superstitious classes of mankind ; 
and it also affords means for the acquiring of 
power and wealth to the ambitious and cunning 
leaders in it. This system is oppressive and ty- 
rannical — making the poor poorer, and the rich 
richer; and taxing the honest labours of the 
working-classes in supporting the idle preachers 
of it." 

Such was the character of the sentiments Mr. 
Often held forth. He spoke about twenty 
minutes, and sat down. Presently he rose 
again, and said : " If there is any Christian pro- 
fessor in the assembly, I challenge him to a 
defence of his favourite system." At this the 
person sitting next me, a professor of religion, 
acquainted with me, entreated me to rise and 
speak. Before I was aware of it, I w^as on my 
feet. I walked forth, and "mounted the ros- 
trum." Many of the infidel philanthropists 
knew me ; and by their pleased appearance I 
supposed they thought I was still with them in 
sentiment, and would attempt to confirm what 
had been spoken by Often. I had no premedita- 
tion to guide me, and needed none. I commenced 
by saying : " I have seen many things lately, but 
T have not seen you for some time past. I have 



VISITS TO TAMMANY HALL. 



129 



been to a Methodist cauip-ineeting, where many 
people were gathered — old and young, rich and 
poor, and good and bad. I have heard what 
they call good preaching, and singing too ; and 
I have heard praying such as I never heard be- 
fore, and, I have reason to believe, such as God 
heard. I have witnessed a good deal of effort, 
in apparent sincerity, to serve God, and to induce 
others to do likewise." 

By certain indications among my old friends, 
given by winking and responses of " Ay, ay," I 
began to think they took me to be in fun with 
them. I had partly anticipated this, and acted 
accordingly. Cold reasoning with an infidel I 
have never had much faith in. He needs some- 
thing that will strike fire into his heart, like 
Mons. Maillifert's contrivance to ignite powder, in 
his submarine explosions. 

Curiosity, from my manner, being aroused, 
attention was secured ; and I went on to relate 
my experience, in a serious and earnest tone of 
voice — that being- most suitable to the state of 
my heart. I proceeded : " While I saw all around 
me engaged in the worship of the living and true 
God, and in a spiritual manner, I felt that there 
was heart in it, and truth, and life, and power. 
I was entreated to go and kneel at the bench they 
had prepared for seeking penitents, and join with 
9 

1 



130 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



them ill praying for the salvation of my soul. I 
complied with the urgent request of a Methodist 
man, and went to the mourners' bench — and 
prayed, and struggled, and agonized. Trembling 
seized my frame. I was fearful that in my rebell- 
ious infidelity I had gone too far to still be within 
the reach of mercy. I abandoned all worldly 
comfort. I laboured two days, in persevering 
strife, to find peace with God. Sleep had forsaken 
my eyelids, and I loathed my food. The third 
day, with a vow not to taste of food again, nor 
drink, until reconciled with offended Majesty — 
nigh driven to self-destruction by opposing force 
— I found peace in believing in Jesus ! — that 
same Jesus you here revile Sabbath after Sabbath, 
and I have so often insulted in the same way. 
It was through the efficacy of his atoning blood 
that my sins were blotted out ; and I am happy. 
I know I was not deceived by the power of the 
Holy Ghost, who shed abroad the love of God 
in my heart. Through this " Spirit of Truth " 
I testify to you to-day, that that religion is true 
which you pronounce a lie ! I know for myself, 
and not another, that you are deceived, and will 
finally be lost, unless you take refuge in Christ." 

This testimony was like hurling a stone into a 
hornets' nest. In the midst of the excitement 
and agitation of the infidels, Often rose and said : 



VISITS TO TAMMANY HALL. 



131 



" The audience will be a little calm. I have no 
fears from what has been said by our warm 
friend ; he is of an excitable temperament, and I 
am pleased with warmth myself. I have seen 
persons like him before ; but such feelings as he has 
evinced to-day never last long. As for the New- 
ark man, he has kept us from drowsiness, and I 
thank him for it; he will soon be himself again. 
My word for it, his enthusiasm will soon evapo- 
rate, and in three months he will .be as good a 
deist as ever." I have heard that he himself 
w r as once a professor of religion. 

The meeting was then closed ; and while we 
were retiring, a gentleman, evidently a Spaniard, 
took me by the arm going down the stairs, and 
I was a little frightened, thinking he designed 
my hurt ; but he wished to communicate some- 
thing to me which I could not understand. He 
walked some distance with me up the Bowery, 
and manifested great feeling. With tears and a 
hearty shake of the hand he left me. "What good 
he had experienced, or any other of those gath- 
ered at Tammany Hall that day, I know not ; but 
I felt that my own soul was blessed in my effort 
to do good. 

My next visit to the Philanthropists, at their 
appointed place of meeting, was but a few weeks 
after the first interview with them. Satisfying 



132 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



the demand of the "three-cent" taxgatherer, 
at the door of the Hall, in order to enjoy the 
liberty of infidel privileges, I seated myself to hear 
what might be said. After due preliminaries, a 
young man, whose name I did not ascertain, took 
his stand at the desk and addressed the assem- 
blage. He was evidently a young man of talent 
and gifts, which fact he seemed not willing should 
remain concealed ; he nevertheless seemed to be 
of genteel deportment. His discourse was char- 
acterized by attempts to prove the inutility of 
revelation. He said : u We need not such a 
revelation as the Bible is claimed to be, to in- 
struct us in what our duty consists to one an- 
other. We may know what is right without the 
Bible. The Bible is, therefore, no true revelation 
from God. Morality and virtue, always being 
desirable, are inculcated upon us by the out- 
beaming manifestation of God's approbation of 
them in the works of nature, and not in the 
Bible, as its admirers have so often and repeat- 
edly asserted. The w 7 orks of God, by their un- 
broken harmony, as unfolded in the sciences of 
geography, geology, and astronomy, all teach us 
— if we would but listen to their voice — that we 
should practise justice, and what is right with 
one another. There is a goodness in nature, if 
we would but appreciate it, that will fill us with the 



VISITS TO TAMMANY HALL. 



133 



spirit of itself, teaching us benevolence and charity. 
There is an unvarying order throughout the visible 
creation which has a perfect response in all natu- 
ral inclinations, if not spoiled by education ; and 
it is at war with that oracle which has been 
originated and mans ged by priestcraft, for so 
many centuries, to the injury of mankind." 

The Hall was filled with persons of a respectable 
appearance — heads and faces of both male and fe- 
male that indicated intelligence more than ordi- 
nary ; that is, considering the character of the meet- 
ing. The young man's address was so near in 
sentiment to what is held by some professors of re- 
ligion, and his voice was so very pleasant, that there 
was evinced considerable interest in him. The 
intelligent faces soon turned toward me, as I was 
pointed out and beckoned to as the " defender of 
the faith." I had nothing to fear on the ground of 
Christianity not being sufficient to support itself. 
I had good assurance that it " must increase " with 
advancing time, until all forms of infidelity and er- 
ror shall fall before it powerless and dead ; that its 
j/lorious Author " shall strike throuo-h kings in the 
day of his wrath," and ride on " conquering and to 
conquer," with "death and hell chained to his 
chariot wheels," until this world becomes a " Para- 
dise Regained." But proud strong ones com- 
posed the assembly around me, with their hearts 



134: 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



and minds bent wrong; and how could I show 
them their "crooked and perverse" state, and 
point out the errors in the address to which they 
had beeu listening with pleasure ? It is hard to 
penetrate through the tough hide in which preju- 
dice wraps its subjects. I proceeded in my reply, 
in substance, as follows : " There might be more 
eloquent sound than solid truth in the oration 
you have been listening to, my friends. In op- 
position to what has been asserted, I think we 
do need a revelation given to us by the inspira- 
tion of God; for nature does not teach us the 
'chief good.' The heathen, through all past 
ages, have had nature, with all its works, to teach 
them the knowledge of God ; but has such knowl- 
edge been to any great degree accurate, and has 
it prevailed to any desirable extent ? Will the 
knowledge of God among the heathen compare 
at all with that which is known of the true God 
by the Christian world ? 1ST ow all this superiority 
in civil, political, moral, and religious qualities 
of the Christian world, to the heathen, is attribu- 
table to this superior knowledge of God received 
from the Bible, which is so justly claimed to be 
a divine revelation. We need, then, just such 
a revelation ; for it is a revelation without the 
slightest flaw. The millions that have, in honesty 
of heart, gone to its pages for 'instruction in 



/ 



VISITS TO TAMMANY HALL. 



135 



righteousness, ' are a cloud of witnesses in its 
favour. See the change wrought in the heart, 
character, and life of those who bring their souls 
by faith in naked contact w 7 ith its potent truths. 
Many of these truths are of such a character that 
they may be made the subject of experiment, and 
be known to a certainty, beyond a possibility of 
doubt. Declamation by sinful man against the 
divinity of the Bible shows both its supernatural 
origin and its need. If sinful man had origina- 
ted that book, it would be found suitable to sin- 
ful taste and congenial to sinful nature : but this 
is not the case. 

" Again : Morality and virtue are not desired 
by man in his natural state. What is naturally 
desirable in morals is naturally practised. Do 
good moral principles and virtuous conduct every- 
where abound ? Do we see nothing opposed to 
the moral law, and amiable qualities, among our 
fellow-men in a state of nature ? Who is able 
rationally to think it? And yet it has been 
asserted here this morning, and many of you, 
doubtless, have taken it for truth. To receive 
such sentiments, in preference to Bible doctrines, 
does not argue an inclination to goodness in man, 
as an innate principle, but the very opposite. 

"And furthermore, nature's works, so called, 
do not teach us God's ways, Spirit, and will, when 



136 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



we consider fairly that we all need forgiving mer- 
cy to be declared unto us through an infallible 
medium from God, our offended sovereign. Are 
we not all in lack of spiritual purity ? Are we 
not conscious that we have some time or other 
in our lives done what we know was wrong? 
What can we then do without forgiveness ? 
and who can forgive, and make this known unto 
us, but God ? There has certainly no saving 
efficacy ever been experienced from the works of 
nature. When has the Spirit of goodness ever 
filled a man's heart through the study of nature's 
works ? Natural inclination may lead to the be- 
lief of this absurdity, when set forth in pleasing 
style ; but this is an argument also against the 
sufficiency of nature's works to reveal God, in a 
saving sense, to his sinful creatures, and in favour 
of a Bible revelation. 

" The eloquent description of the Creator's 
works, in their unbroken harmony throughout all 
the known parts of the universe, is also faulty in 
one other characteristic, namely, the lack of truth. 
It is not true that such order and exact symmetry, 
as are in accordance to the measurement of human 
rules, appear everywhere in the works of nature. 
Diversity and want of sameness appear in almost 
everything around us. The mountains of all 
shapes and sizes — no two alike — jagged and 



VISITS TO TAMMANY HALL. 



137 



craggy, give us an idea of the true aspect of other 
things in this respect The trees and the 4 deep- 
tangled wildwood,' with their limbs branching in 
every direction — leaves of every form imaginable ; 
the rivers in zigzag angles and curves, without 
symmetry or apparent order; the clouds in fan- 
tastic shapes, ever varying their forms and hues, 
carried about by unsteady winds, appearing and 
disappearing constantly, are out of symmetrical 
measure and order: and the entire world ex- 
hibits the same want of what might be called or- 
der, through invariable variations. The planets 
in the solar system, with the comets, all vary in 
their respective distances from each other, and 
from their centre of motion ; and that, too, with- 
out any sign of regular gradations in their dif- 
ferences. Their sizes, situations, motions, ap- 
pendages, and specific gravity, are all out of 
order — especially that kind of order attributed to 
them this morning. The human physiognomy, 
in order to the preservation of distinctions in per- 
sonal identity, has the same marks of diversity. 
Now the Bible, with the religion it teaches, like 
the rest of God's own works, has the same diversity 
and variety blended with its unity ; and contains, 
therefore, no ' cunningly devised fables,' but the 
only true light, to shine upon the darkness of 
human nature. Had man's inclinations been 



138 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



wholly guided by its inspiration, no discrepancy 
would have been suspected between the order ot 
its arrangement and the order of the works of 
creation. Ilad the light of the lamp of God 
been but the guide of man's footsteps, how much 
evil would have been avoided ; how much error 
would have been removed ; and how much hap- 
piness would have been secured ! Let not, then, 
your natural desires prove too strong for your 
better judgment.!" 

After this reply, given in substance above, the 
meeting w r as closed, and I was invited to visit 
them again. 

Christianity sustains itself by its own power. 
It is reported of Napoleon Bonaparte, that near 
the close of his life he said, " The peculiarity of 
Christ's religion is its self-subsisting energy." 
This is true, whether Napoleon said it or not. 
What a glorious thought that it is so, and that 
its universal spread is certain ! 

After a few months I visited for the third time 
the infidels, at the Hall of Old Tammany. The 
" three-cent man," Cerberus-like, sat at the door, 
and received my tax-money. Mr. Often, after 
pressing the juice from an orange into his mouth, 
began to express his infidel sentiments from his 
heart into the ears of his congregation. He 
said : " Knavery and cunning, to a very consider- 



VISITS TO TAMMANY HALL. 



139 



able extent, mark the character of preachers of 
the gospel. Hypocrisy and deception are every- 
where to be met with in the leaders and officers 
of the Churches. And fools, and brainless nin- 
nies, are the masses of Church-members, that, 
like young robins, are ready at all times to 
gulp down whatever is given them from the 
pulpit. And I find that preachers are very care- 
ful to have a discipline, by which they secure to 
themselves a good salary. Money is the only 
object for which they labour. How much better 
is our freedom, with our light, and science, and 
truth, than their delusions. We have no set 
rules to bind us hand and foot — we delight in 
liberty of opinion. "We hate bigotry, and will 
oppose it, ' tooth and nail,' wherever it may be 
found. We love our country, and will support 
whatever goes to effect its entire freedom." 

I was invited to make a reply, and rose for the 
purpose. While I was standing at the desk, 
doing the best I could to show the fallacy of what 
had been said, Mr. Offen jumped up and took 
me by the skirt of my coat, and pulled me back- 
ward, saying that I had misrepresented him. 
He had said, " The philanthropists have no creed 
of moral precepts laid upon them." In refer- 
ence to this I had said, " Mr. Often exults in not 
being under a code of moral precepts." The dif- 



140 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



ference was in creed and code. I acknowledged 
being corrected, and did not get angry to please 
Offen. 

I proceeded to remark, after being interrupted, 
something after the following : " The religion of 
Christ can be tested by experience. It is the 
work of the Spirit and power of God, and is 
established in the hearts of 4 many witnesses.' 
It is, in reference to the soul, everywhere sur- 
rounding us, as the atmosphere we breathe is 
surrounding our bodies. I know its existence in 
my heart, as well as I know I have eyes, and 
bones, and blood. I know that J esus Christ, who 
was once dead, is now alive, and that it was 
through him that I experienced religion. Your 
efforts against this Christ, and his religion, show 
the blindfolded state of your souls ; but they 
must be fruitless in breaking down that 1 Great 
Rock,' the shadow of which you so much stand in 
need of in this weary land. There are two facts, 
at least, that you never can account for, on the 
ground you occupy — viz., the resurrection of 
Christ, and the conversion of the Apostle Paul. 

"Now, if there be any here who have ever 
prayed earnestly in the name of Jesus, tell me, 
Do you not recollect some occasions on which you 
received answers to your petitions for mercy ? 
Did not the blessed Spirit bring to your heart 



VISITS TO TAMMANY HALL. 



141 



those answers with much assurance ? Will you 
ever forget what balm was applied to your 
wounded spirits? What peace, love, comfort, 
and joy, came and charmed, with heavenly fra- 
grance, the hour of your espousals to the Saviour ? 

sweet days, forever gone ! Bright hopes for- 
ever fled ! Delightful seasons of refreshing from 
the presence of the Lord, far, far, beyond recall ! 
[Just here, a woman sobbed aloud, and wept, 
that she might have been heard by all present. 

1 continued.] You, poor soul ! backslidden, no 
doubt, from God, turn again to Jesus. He is all 
forgiveness, and will receive you into favour. He 
will heal all your backslidings. [Here another 
interruption ensued by the peace-loving modera- 
tor, who informed me aloud, that I was not in a 
Methodist meeting, and need not exhort in order 
to work on the feelings. Amid the agitation I 
raised my voice higher still, and proceeded.] And 
you, moderator, no doubt, feel in your conscience 
that I have the right side of the question. Are 
you not, even now, resisting the Spirit of God ? 
O, you who practise deception upon yourselves 
and others, God will hold you accountable for 
your conduct !" 

Mr. Off en immediately rose, and said : " This 
matter about prayers being answered, as has been 
asserted, can be settled on the spot. Let S 



142 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



just pray for his Jesus Christ to drop down a 
cent before us all ; and if his prayer is answered, 
why, we will not hesitate to believe all he has 
said, and not without." 

I saw at this time, in the congregation, a 
deist of my acquaintance from Newark, who was 
making ineffectual efforts to refrain from weep- 
ing. He, a few days before, had requested me 
never again to speak to him on the subject of re- 
ligion. Two or three days after this, meeting him 
in the street, I inquired " Why he wept while I 
was speaking in Tammany Hall ?" He replied, 
u Who thought you would have been there ! 
And I was fool enough to think, that if what you 
said was true, you had something that I had not. 
But I'll risk all that now." 

The last time I participated in the exercises at 
Tammany Hall, they invited me to take the lead. 
I felt the weight of the cross, and the Bible lay 
open before me on the desk. I thought of the 
eternity and power of the word, and its Spirit of 
inspiration. I opened my mouth, and my soul 
was " full of matter." Without previous thought 
or meditation, I commenced by laying clown the 
following propositions, viz. : — 

1. That the religion of Christ is really some- 
thing. 

2. That this something, which contains the 



VISITS TO TAMMANY HALL. 143 

whole, and nothing more, of the religion of the 
Bible, is good and true, without mixture of evil 
or error. 

3. That this something good and true, called 
the Christian religion, being distinctly foreign 
from what is common to man in a state of nature, 
must necessarily be divine. 

I proceeded to show that the religion of Jesus 
Christ is really something. 

This religion is a fact in the world. It is to 
be so viewed. This fact has a self-subsisting 
energy. It remains where it is opposed by every 
element in the natural man. Yet witnesses in 
every age have testified of its existence. They 
have not been all noted liars. It is an unchange- 
able fact, proved so by the millions that have wit- 
nessed it, and by the millions that have opposed it. 
Do not infidels themselves admit the religion of 
Christ to be something, in the opposition they 
manifest in their efforts against it ? How could 
they make nothing an object of resistance ? 

That this something, which contains the whole 
of the religion of the Bible, and nothing more, is 
good and true, without mixture of evil or error, 

Nothing must be included in the idea of 
Christ's religion but that which does essentially 
belong to it. The sayings and teachings of the 
original Founder of this system must give us the 



144 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

definite idea of it. We must see this religion 
separated from everything but itself, in order to 
know of its essential and inherent properties. 
The fountain from whence flows this spiritual 
stream, that has watered the Church and re- 
freshed the people of God in all ages, is the Lord 
Jesus Christ, of whom it was said, while he was 
on earth, by his enemy, u I find no fault in him." 
He, by his doctrine and Spirit, claims to establish 
the hearts of his believing followers in all the 
principles involved in love to God and good-will 
to man. This love has been manifested in men's 
lives, and is wholly good. Good-will to man has 
also been evinced by Christians ; and this, too, is 
undeniably good. 

But is this all true about the principles of 
Christianity being entirely good ? To deny it, is 
to give the lie to the united testimony of the wisest 
and best of men in every age ; and with all their 
known purity of life to assert that they lied, in 
triumphs of joy, while dying ! Let a thousand 
mathematicians each work one of Euclid's prob- 
lems ; will not the thousand agree, although not 
permitted to consult with each other ? Does not 
such an argument prove truth to be the ascer- 
tained result of their investigations ? The truth 
of the love of God, with all its good principles, is 
found by the millions who make the experiment, 



VISITS TO TAMMANY HALL. 



145 



in a point of unchangeable agreement with one 
another. They are of one mind, and testify to 
the same thing. 

You yourselves declare publicly that profes- 
sors of religion are hypocrites, when they practise 
what they do not profess. And bad acts, by you, 
are attributed to something as the cause, unlike 
Christianity. But hypocrisy you never charge 
upon an infidel, when he goes to the gallows for 
a crime committed. Did you ever in your lives 
really think that faith in Christ is capable of 
leading men to steal and murder \ And yet you 
dare not say that crimes do make a man less an 
infidel than he was before ! 

Had there been any error, in fact or principle, 
in Christ's religion, it would have been over- 
thrown ere now. The infirmities and faults of 
Christians constitute no part of the religion of the 
Bible. The system of Christ contains no errors, 
but truth's matter and spirit fill up all his words 
of eternal life to man. 

That this something good and true, called the 
Christian religion, being distinctly foreign from 
what is common to man in a state of nature, 
must necessarily be divine. 

That man is evil, needs no proof greater than 
what every man carries in his own breast. Cruel- 
ties, crimes, and abominations make up a great 
10 



146 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



proportion of human history. To assert that 
man has originated the Bible, with its religion, 
is to assert that good can emanate from evil, and 
truth from falsehood. No man, nor set of men, 
has ever claimed to be the originating cause of 
the Bible, nor the religion it teaches. From 
every consideration, the good and true God 
is the author of both. Both are claimed to 
be of him, both are worthy of him, and both 
prove, by their undeviating influence and effects, 
to be his, and call loudly upon all men to yield 
implicit' obedience to the saving plan, and the 
divine will contained in them. 

iVfter speaking, in substance, as above, I wished 
the speaker who should follow me to take up my 
propositions in consecutive order, and dispose of 
them rationally and righteously. If fallacy could 
be detected, I wished that it might be exposed. 
The "something" of religion must be either de- 
nied or admitted. The goodness and truth of it 
must be either denied or admitted. The claim 
of its divinity must be concluded upon from the 
truth or falsehood of the propositions, and argu- 
ments to sustain them. 

After taking my seat, B. OfFen got up in evi- 
dent agitation, and said, looking at me, " I would 
not give a bladder of wind (!) for your arguments, 
or your feelings either." He then surveyed the 



VISITS TO TAMMANY HALL. 



147 



congregation, with a sneering smile, and pro- 
ceeded, by saying, "I don't know but these 
Christians are praying that I may be confused — 
at any rate it is time to close the meeting." 
While the people were retiring, Mr. Offen beck- 
oned to me to tarry behind, and said, ' k Did you 
not receive from some of your friends a quarter 
of veal or a leg of mutton for your services here V\ 
I replied, " Not at all, sir." " Have you not re- 
ceived pay of any kind for coming here ?" he in- 
quired. Being answered in the negative, I left 
the place, and have endeavoured once or twice 
since to have a hearing among them on the sub- 
ject of religion, but have failed, through the 
moderation of the moderators. They seemed to 
be so in love with liberty, that they desired to 
keep it all to themselves, without allowing others, 
with them, to have the privilege of its enjoy- 
ment. The most tyrannical bigots to be found 
are the infidels; and the greatest enemy that 
true liberty has ever had is stubborn-headed and 
corrupt-hearted infidelity. 



148 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

CALL TO THE MINISTRY. 

IS o employment can eclipse the object of saving a soul from 
de ath . — Summerfield . 

God has ever had, in every age of the Church, a 
chosen, called, and duly qualified ministry to 
proclaim his truth to the rebellious sons and 
daughters of fallen Adam. And this ministry, 
though " set at naught " by many, has ever been 
distinguished by its spiritual success and other 
evangelical marks, from a ministry of the world's 
own selection. The choice which God has been 
pleased to make of men from time to time, in 
the different ages of his Church, has been very 
much at variance with that choice which men 
have made. Ministers who have been qualified 
by merely human means, and have preached to 
secure " a living," or from a sense of benevolence, 
or because the exercise was agreeable to them 
and their friends, have not been of that stamp 
that God has promised to be with always, " even 
to the end of the world," and to own and bless. 
Such ministers have done immense harm, not 
only to themselves, but to all who have sustained 



CALL TO THE MINISTRY. 



149 



them. But the men who have been truly called 
to minister in holy things, have been such as 
have been most astonished at the choice made, 
in putting them into the ministry. The call of a 
member of the Church to the ministry is often 
attended with conviction of the fact, growing upon 
the more prominent members of the same Church, 
for a length of time before the individual called 
feels deeply on the subject. And when such call 
is beginning to settle down upon him in fixed 
conviction, how often is he astonished that the 
wise God should make such a selection ! When 
persons think they are called to preach, when 
that "think so" is supported solely by an im- 
pression, which impression is without a response 
in the convictions of their brethren, with whom 
they are in Church -fellowship, then it is quite 
likely their call is a false one. When I was con- 
vinced of my duty to preach the gospel, I was 
not alone in the conviction of that fact; and 
had I resisted the spirit of that call from secular 
motives, I would, no doubt, have been in deplora- 
ble companionship with some who may read 
these pages. And yet, " by the grace of God, I 
am what I am." 

The first few years of my religious life seemed 
to be marked, in great measure, by opposite 
realities. T had many seasons of joy in the midst 



150 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



of sorrows and afflictions. I had, in the outset, 
anticipated one continued scene of spiritual enter- 
tainment, without a doubt, a trial, or a fear to 
mar the quiet and delight that feasted my soul 
from day to day. 

" I could not believe 
That I ever should grieve, 
That I ever should suffer again." 

I expected to live in the city of Newark, where I 
3iad enjoyed such sweet seasons of soul-refreshing 
from the presence of the Lord, in company with 
God's people — to spend my life there, where in 
boyhood's days I had formed a strong attach- 
ment to the place, and prepared memory to carry 
in her long journey endearing relics of early as- 
sociations — and to lay my bones there with those 
of my kindred, and brothers in Christ, when my 
life on earth should end. But there are in the 
ways of Providence and grace mysteries, and ap- 
parent paradoxes, not to be unravelled "before 
the time." We know not what a day may bring 
forth. 

The cross of speaking in class-meeting, and of 
praying in public prayer-meetings, I had perse- 
vered in taking up and bearing as well as I could, 
with an eye single to the glory of God, for about 
six months, before the burden of a class-paper 



CALL TO THE MINISTRY. 



151 



was laid upon me, which appeared at the time 
more than I could bear. Yet, like the wings of a 
bird that bear it aloft, the Spirit strengthened me 
to cany the burden it imposed. Like a dreaded 
serpent, before touched, it became a rod of power 
in the hand of obedience. So I have found all 
duties we owe to God. The more readily we 
engage in them, the easier they are performed. 

Class-leading is an important spiritual duty, 
and requires peculiar qualifications in order to 
its proper performance. It is a work to which 
a Methodist preacher is appointed, and which he 
must himself perform, or have performed by 
suitable representatives. A class-leader should, 
therefore, be like the preacher he represents, a 
spiritual person, and a good judge of moral char- 
acter. He should have clear views of regener- 
ation — being born again himself — of justification 
by faith, and of sanctification. He should have 
a correct knowledge of the saving doctrines, and 
of the precious promises. In Christian experi- 
ence he should be "no novice," that he may 
be able to correct, reprove, and teach in the way 
of salvation the members of his class. He 
should be acquainted with the Methodist discip- 
line and economy, to give a proper direction to 
temporal as well as spiritual operations. Lack 
in any of the above particulars is attended with 



152 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



harm to members of the class, and to the influ- 
ence and prosperity of the Church. Were all 
the leaders just what they ought to be, what a 
salutary effect would be produced in the Churches 
to which they belong ! I am far from decrying 
our leaders — we have among them some of the 
very best of men. But the importance of the 
office is such, that ability and faithfulness in it 
would afford results of immense benefit. How 
great should leaders feel their responsibilities to 
be, in order to " magnify their office." 

I was chosen leader of a class by the Rev. S. 
Higgins, and I felt my incompetency to the great 
work. I needed gracious help from God, and 
prayed for it, going forward in the way of duty 
with good intentions. That my zeal was often 
more than a proper balance for my knowledge is 
quite likely, and from some cause — not hurtful, I 
was informed, to my moral or religious character 
— my class, by a succeeding preacher, was given 
to another leader, and I was freed from the bur- 
den. The tears r of the preacher, as he received 
the class-paper from my hand, gave me a good 
opinion of his motive, and that he acted in his 
* own conscience with a view to the best interests 
of the Church, and was a faithful watchman upon 
her walls. That his knowledge of me, at the 
time, was father superficial and imperfect, from 



CALL TO THE MINISTRY. 153 

unfaithful reports, unknown to me, is not at all 
improbable. Some of my friends were grieved 
at this dismissal, and some desired me to be more 
grieved than I was, for their satisfaction. But I 
met in the same class, and did all I could to 
keep things from taking a wrong turn, in refer- 
ence to others as well as myself, knowing that 
God would be pleased with such a course. It 
was not long before I was again requested to 
take the leadership of a class, which I readily 
complied with, as well as I was able. This whole 
affair resulted in my good, in its final issue. It 
made me more watchful over my own heart, and 
more dependent on God to lead me and defend 
me in all things. It also made me more slow to 
believe every report that might chance to be put 
in circulation about a brother. Severities are 
often experienced by the people of God from one 
another, to their mutual benefit. 

In accordance with the feelings of my brethren 
in the Church, and especially the official members, 
in less than a year after my conversion I received 
from the preacher in charge, and the concurrent 
vote of the quarterly conference, license to exhort. 
This I had in no way solicited, and yet it was 
not in opposition to my inward conviction of duty ; 
for I never could feel free to exhort or preach 
unless recognised as a suitable person by the 



154 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



regular license afforded me by the Church. The 
persons who exhort and preach without such 
license have never yet convinced me of their en- 
lightened piety, or extensive usefulness. 

In my labours as an exhorter I was happy, 
and yet I felt the weight of my responsibility, 
and my weakness in bearing it. Some fruit ap- 
peared, in the awakening and conversion of sin- 
ners. My brothers, my sister, my mother, and 
my wife, were much on my mind, and I conversed 
w T ith them as often as I could on the subject of 
their souls' salvation. And I prayed for them 
daily more than once. These were converted to 
God, after much anxiety on my part had been 
felt for them. Fruits of my labour in other re- 
spects appeared ; but while it encouraged me to 
know that God was with me, it did not increase 
my joy to think too much on my success in win- 
ning souls to Christ. I was not without tempta- 
tions and trials. Sometimes by the enemy of 
my soul I was lifted too high, and sometimes 
depressed too low. I needed the Bible to guide 
me. 

Some occurrences at that time I would here no- 
tice, in order to guard the young Christian reader 
against a spirit of presumption and pride — those 
evils the young convert is so liable of being drawn 
into. There was in the city an old Frenchman, 



CALL TO THE MINISTRY. 



155 



whose occupation was a cheap kind of likeness- 
taking. He was a noted infidel, and fond of the 
ridiculous. I thought of visiting him in order to 
endeavour to persuade him to seek religion. I 
was told by those more acquainted with the old 
man not to go, as he had been spoken to by 
them without effect. I thought it might be my 
faith was stronger than theirs, and I paid him a 
visit. He was in his studio, and soon after enter- 
ing I said, " Mr. B , do you not feel the 

need of the religion of the Bible ? You are grow- 
ing old, and I think you ought to seek an ac- 
quaintance with God, through Christ, before you 
die." He replied, "I have great fault to find 
with your religion, and your devil, too ! You 
call him de prince of de wind, and say he fly all 
abroad ; and you paint him wid a monkey tail ! 
Such a tail not fit to guide him. A turkey tail 
would be more suitable ! I no like your religion, 
nor your devil. 7 ' My faith in doing good to him 
foiled, and I left him. He has since died, and 
may now know the character of his objections to 
Christianity ! 

On one occasion, while I was walking to the 
place of worship, where I expected to exhort after 
the sermon, I was so unwatchful over myself that 
I was carried away, for a season, with spiritual 
pride. The sermon by the stationed preacher 



156 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

being closed, I was invited to give an exhortation 
from the altar. I went forward in my own 
strength, and commenced, " My beloved brethren, 
I thank God that our carnals are not iveapon." 
Confusion came over my mind, and hot flushes 
were felt in my face, and I rallied with reinforced 
determination to give an exhortation, and repeat- 
ed : " I say, my friends, that our carnals are not 
weapon ! My friends, I say my thoughts have 
left me " — (the bright thoughts studied out along 
the way to the Church, in order that they might 
have something good.) I sat down, and was 
profitably humbled. 

On Sabbath afternoon, between the hours of 
public preaching, I was in the habit, with others, 
of holding meetings on the wharf, near where 
the Bethel now stands. Once while I was bear- 
ing my message to sinners there, a man of in- 
temperate habits came and stood directly before 
me, with a large jug in his hand. This did not 
dampen my ardour in the least, but, by giving 
additional evidence of the need of the word of 
God to be preached among such people as gather- 
ed there on the Sabbath-day, tended to increase 
my feelings, and I exhorted sinners with all my 
might to " flee from the wrath to come." After 
I was done speaking I kneeled down to pray, 
and the mouth of the huge jug was just under 



CALL TO THE MINISTRY. 



157 



my nose, held there on purpose by the man of 
rum. I was informed that this jug-man was 
hired to do what he did by the promise of having 
his jug filled for him with good liquor. This 
daring wretch, within six months from that time, 
died, as he had lived — without hope. 

On another occasion, being in the city of New- 
York, I went down early in the morning to the 
North River, not far from Barclay-street, and got 
permission of the captain of a vessel to take my 
stand on deck, and exhort sinners to repentance. 
The vessel lay close to the dock, and soon the 
deck was covered with hearers of the word ; and 
while I was depicting the deceitfulness of the hu- 
man heart, in an unregenerate state, a brawny 
Irishman came up to me, with a huge fist raised, 
and said, with an oath, " Is it me you mean, sir V 
I continued speaking truth, in tenderness, with 
heart uplifted. But I was light, and the fist was 
ponderous ! To go home mangled and bleeding 
from my early Sunday exercises was not agree- 
able. Just then, as I was about submitting as 
patiently as I could to the striking process an- 
ticipated, a sailor, with tarpaulin in careening 
style, stepped up, tapping me on the shoulder, 
saying, "Just say what you please while I am 
here, and I will see you out in it." Then turn- 
ing to the man of threatening aspect, with a 



158 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

pugilistic nourish of his fists, he continued : 
"Mister, just keep a little back; you will see as 
well : for any more of your sauce will furnish you 
with a pair of bunged blinkers !" The aggressor, 
with orbs undimined, speedily departed, and I, 
without further molestation, proceeded to the 
close of my exhortation ; after which, a gentle- 
man on the opposite side of the* vessel arose and 
said, in substance : " I would like to bear my tes- 
timony in favour of religion. Little more than a 
year ago I was a poor drunkard, working on the 
canal. There was a meeting held on one of the 
boats, like the one here this morning, which I at- 
tended — for I was too poorly dressed to go inside 
of a church. On that occasion an exhortation 
from a young man, a tract distributer, reached 
my heart. From that time I sought the Lord, 
until my soul was converted, which was within a 
few weeks. I am now happy, and the appetite 
to drink intoxicating liquors has left me." He 
exhorted a while, and then prayed. He was a 
good singer, and a fine looking man — and a brand 
snatched from the burning. I became acquainted 
with him afterward, and he w^as a good member 
of the Church. Much good has been done by 
self-sacrificing and cross-bearing efforts, to bring 
sinners into the fold of Christ ; and more might 
still be done than is done, if the zeal and love 



CALL TO THE MINISTRY. 



159 



that burned in the apostles and first Methodist 
preachers were kindled afresh in the hearts of 
their successors. 

About one year and a half after my conversion, 
I began to fear that I might one day feel it my 
duty to God to preach the gospel. I kept this a 
secret from my brethren in the Church for about 
two years, thinking it might be nothing but temp- 
tation. This was partly owing to a circumstance 
which occurred while I was in the ardent feelings 
of my first love. While a young convert, I had 
been enticed by a friend, who believed it to be 
my duty to preach immediately, to make trial of 
my preaching talents. The Methodist Protestant 
Church in Mulberry-street was the place ap- 
pointed to test my call to the ministry. It had 
been given out that I would preach on the even- 
ing of a Sabbath, and curiosity led many there 
to hear the sermon. I was advised by the friend 
to make no preparation, and I obeyed his instruc- 
tions to the letter. The time for preaching arrived, 
and my friend and the preacher sat together in the 
pulpit; but no text had yet come to be preached. 
I was encouraged not to be alarmed, for that 
would come whenever I would open my mouth to 
preach, and surely I did not want to use it till then. 
After singing and praying, I rose to commence 
preaching. I opened the Bible, and began to 



160 



THE CONVERTED IN EI DEL. 



read in order to find the text, which I was in- 
formed would fasten on my mind whenever I 
should come to it. It was the last chapter in Mark's 
Gospel ; and as no text seized upon me, I seized 
upon the sixteenth verse. My preaching state of 
mind by this time was not the most delightful, but 
I did the best I could. I began by saying : " My 
friends, believing is a tiling that ought to be done, 
and it ought to be done soon, and you must all 
believe. Now to believe a thing is to — to believe 
a thing. To be damned is not to believe, and 
to be saved is to be saved, I feel uncommonly 
bad, my friends. I do n't know what I am say- 
ing myself. I do hope that somebody will come 
up here and preach, for I believe lam not called." 
I sat down, but the seat was too high ; I wanted 
to be out of sight of the congregation. One source 
of relief to cheer my drooping spirits was left me, 
however, to congratulate myself with. While 
going home that night, being concealed by the 
darkness and the crowd, 1 heard some appren- 
tice boy say, " Well, I believe the preacher is a 
good man, although he does not know much !" 
This was some comfort. 

The above circumstance in my memory, when- 
ever I was consulted on the subject of my probable 
call to preach, weighed heavily on my spirits. 
I did not wish to preach if I could well avoid it. 



CALL TO THE MINISTRY. 



161 



I believed that, as many called to preach bad not 
obeyed, so also many had run before they were 
sent. I had many serious thoughts at times on the 
subject ; but I quieted my fears as well as I could, 
by resting on my conscious inability to preach. 

One day, under much heaviness and tempta- 
tion, I received a letter from the Eev. Mr. Cook- 
man, urging me not to attempt to smother my 
convictions of a call to the ministry if I had any. 
His words were to me ominous, alarming, and 
timely. To receive such a letter, at such a time, 
under such circumstances, from such an instruct- 
or, on such an important subject, seemed to me 
providential. Grace and providence, like two 
wheels, exactly correspond in their union, motions, 
and designs, working together in accordance 
with the will of God. 

My past preaching I could not forget, while 
meditating on Mr. Cookman's letter. A new 
preacher was sent to us by the conference, and I 
soon became acquainted with him. I found him 
kind ; but my heart failed in an endeavour to 
make him acquainted with my trouble about 
preaching. One day, in peculiar tenderness, he 
said to me : " Dear brother, have you not had 
impressions of your probable duty yet to preach 
the gospel ? Have you not seriously anticipated 
that you might yet be called to exercise your 
11 



162 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



talents and gifts in this way V I said something 
in reply, and with much emotion bid him good 
morning. At another interview with this minis- 
ter I had explanations given me on the call to 
the ministry, temptations and trials connected 
with it, supporting and qualifying grace promised, 
and advice and instruction imparted that I desire 
never to forget. He put things in a proper train, 
in order to give me a trial at preaching. I was 
advised by him to write out my sermon and sub- 
mit it to his inspection, if I could feel free to do 
so. I complied, and was told it was creditable. I 
was then advised to use it in the pulpit, as it would 
help me to overcome my embarrassment. I did use 
it in this way, and preached one other, immediate- 
ly succeeding the first sermon, with the written 
copy before me. This was in compliance with 
the judicious advice of that prudent minister, to 
whom I shall always feel great indebtedness, as 
an instrument in the hand of God for introducing 
me into the field of labour, the consequences of 
which are of vital importance. In remembrance 
of his wise counsels, painstaking, and persever- 
ance, my prayer is that he may be continued long 
a useful and beloved member of the New-Jersey 
Conference, while the memory of his unworthy 
brother shall hold in increasing endearment the 
name of the Rev. Thomas M'Garrol3< 



CALL TO THE MINISTRY, 



163 



Receiving license from the proper authority 
as a local preacher, I laboured in my sphere, in 
the cause of God, with a strong impression that I 
was indeed called of him to preach the gospel. 

For nearly four years, through the confidence 
of my brethren in the Church, I occupied the 
responsible position of a local preacher, and many 
were the happy seasons I enjoyed during that 
period. I realized myself to be a " helper " in 
the charge where I belonged, and gave the 
stationed minister to understand that I would, if 
possible, always be "on hand" to help him in 
filling such appointments best suited to his con- 
venience. Although my sermons lacked polish, 
I knew, if I answered my call, God would call 
hearers. With the verdict of the Church, and 
the confirmation of hearers, I had the witness of 
the Spirit, and I was encouraged in the work ; 
and the more I felt the u burden of the Lord " 
upon me, the more I felt my own weakness. 
The responsibility seemed great, as it certainly 
was. When temptations to give up preaching 
would assail me, Jonah's " whale " was after me, 
and Paul's " woe " chased me. 

One day I was directed by a person — now no 
doubt in heaven — to go to a certain store, where 
I would find a package with my name upon it. 
I went, and found Dr. Adam Clarke's Com- 



164 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



mentary on the New Testament, a present from 
some one still to me unknown. I studied it 
with profit, as much as my limited time would 
permit. Certainly this appeared to be a token 
of divine favour in the work of saving souls. 

In the capacity of a local preacher I expected 
to remain, my license to be renewed from year to 
year — my conduct comporting with the gospel of 
Christ — during my sojourn on earth. I, how- 
ever, was recommended by my brethren to the 
New-Jersey Conference, as a suitable person to be 
a travelling preacher, for three successive years. 
Such a recommendation satisfied my conscience 
that not travelling as a Methodist itinerant was 
not my fault, and I was just as happy in not 
being received as though I had been. I knew 
the Lord would never require me to utter his 
truth in a certain way, when a " door of utterance " 
in that way was not opened by him. 

On my recommendation for the fourth time, I 
was received on trial in the New-Jersey Con- 
ference. It was at the session of this body held 
in Newark, New- Jersey, in the spring of 1841. 
This was to me an unexpected event; yet I 
viewed it as an expression of the will of God that 
I should be " thrust out" in this way. The Lord 
had converted, and taken my mother to heaven ; 
two of my young children he had removed from 



CALL TO THE MINISTRY. 



165 



earth to " the better country the business in 
which I was engaged, as my daily occupation, 
was just about closing, and other indications 
of Providence appeared that the time had fully 
come when I must obey the call of God in an 
itinerating sense, to " go forth weeping, bearing 
precious seed." Sore were my trials, some time 
previous to my going out as a travelling preacher, 
from several causes ; but much from temptation. 
One most painful event was the parting with 
our youngest child, a daughter but three and a 
half years old. The precocity, in manifestations 
of mind and heart, of "little Margaret," made 
her a favourite with us, and when we were 
called to part w 7 ith her it was nearly heart-break- 
ing. I felt my weakness as I surveyed her arti- 
cles of dress and plaything memorials left behind. 
They reminded me sadly of her smiles, merry 
prattling, and fond embraces, to be enjoyed on 
earth no more. But she became another magnet 
of attraction in heaven, and I needed more 
weaning from the world, and experienced it. 

In departing from Newark, to labour in the vine- 
yard, I left many friends ; but for such work no 
sacrifices can be too great. In my " goings forth " 
from place to place, I have often thought of the 
great commission of Christ being carried out more 
fully in the Methodist itinerancy than in any other 



166 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



way at present adopted. Staying in one place to 
preach all a man's lifetime, may be agreeable to 
" flesh and blood but who can believe it more 
agreeable to the plainest declarations of Scripture, 
than the travelling plan of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church? I heard it once stated by a 
Unitarian of some note, that he believed the 
itinerant system was the best adapted to Method- 
ist preachers, because their talents were too 
limited to afford the people a continual and 
sufficient variety. The romantic variety of Uni- 
tarian moral essays he considered of more value, 
I presume, than the gospel truth of the one 
atonement. As to versatile talents for preaching 
the gospel, the Methodist preachers will compare 
favourably with any other class ; and, the best of 
all is, God has generally been with them. In 
what way, I would ask, according to available 
information on the subject, has the gospel 
brought more of its real benefits to the people 
and institutions of these United States, than 
through the labours of Methodist preachers? 
The " more excellent way " of preaching the 
word may easily be discovered by its practical 
effects upon those who are brought under its in- 
fluence. The excellency of God's saving power 
is consigned to " earthen vessels " for distribution. 
Learned or unlearned, the vessels bearing gospel 



CALL TO THE MINISTRY. 



161 



" treasure " must be considered " earthen," or the 
ministers, "verily, will have their reward." The 
gospel, the whole gospel, and nothing but the 
gospel, is to be preached in its own power and 
spirit, by those moved to it by the Holy Ghost. 
"Itching ears" may be tickled with "sounding 
brass," the "unruly member" may clamour for 
" variety," and self-indulgence may seek comfort 
in an earthly " abiding home ;" but " God's ways 
are not our ways." 

There is an exciusiveness in the office and work 
of a gospel minister that makes him a peculiar 
character. Success in his calling demands that 
this exciusiveness, in being separated from other 
employments, set apart for spiritual duties, given 
to reading, study, and prayer, be strictly observed. 
If politics, science, or even learning, take and ab- 
sorb the entire attention, there will be an unfit- 
ness for the proper labours of the pulpit. If 
riches and honour throw before the eye an at- 
traction, and draw away the heart, the preacher, 
like Samson, is shorn of his locks. The Le- 
vites, by divine appointment, had no portion of 
the land of Canaan. The Lord God was their 
portion. And the heralds of salvation, under 
the immediate command of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, were directed to take neither " purse nor 
scrip," but were to trust God for all they needed. 



168 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



This faith in God for daily bread, in its effect 
upon the hearers of those believing preachers, 
was designed for good with the rest of preaching 
influences in the institution of the ministry. 

The style of gospel preaching is of some im- 
portance. When the heart and mind are so 
swayed by the truth of the word of God and the 
Holy Ghost that extravagant figures, poetic flow- 
ers, and bombastic language will not be thought 
of nor cared for, then affectation will be hated 
and despised. When love, and zeal, and sin- 
cerity, and humility are in the heart, they will 
be manifested in the words and manners of the 
preacher. Whatever is — in " abundance " — in 
the heart, will come out of the mouth. I w T as 
once edified by an inflated friend with the re- 
mark, "That my preaching would do, but my 
prayers were not sublime enough !" Sublime 
prayers offered to God ! 

Pulpit eloquence is a qualification of import- 
ance to the preacher, and many have missed the 
mark in aiming at it. The first sermon I recol- 
lect of hearing — being but a child — gave me a 
wrong impression. Want of proper pulpit elo- 
quence was the principal cause. Children, in 
general, have a taste unperverted, though uncul- 
tivated. Their feelings are right in painting, 
poetry, music, as well as morals, as far as they 



CALL TO THE MINISTRY. 



169 



go. Preaching, when good, is interesting to 
them. How did they love Summer field's preach- 
ing ! and the preaching of a greater than Sum- 
merfield, who said, " Forbid them not to come 
unto me." But the preaching I heard was of a 
different sort — it made me think of scolding. 
Following the preacher's eye as it seemed to 
light upon an individual demure and bald, I sup- 
posed the obnoxious bald head was the sole 
cause of offence for which the hail-storm elo- 
quence was poured forth. 

I have since heard true eloquence, and good 
and lasting have been the effects. On such occa- 
sions I have felt an influence more than human, 
as the words of truth came warm and fresh from 
the preacher's swelling heart. Then the eyes, 
and every feature in the countenance, with the 
voice, would speak out with a tongue of fire the 
dictates of the heart, in a manner which no un- 
converted, heartless, automaton, manufactured 
preacher could imitate. 

The eloquence peculiar to the pulpit is de- 
signed, definitely and specifically, as an instru- 
ment in the salvation of mankind. It is part of 
the gospel system. " Knowing the terrors of the 
Lord, we persuade men." It is, therefore, of a 
very different character from any other used on 
earth, having no sympathies in common for it in 



170 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL, 

unregenerate nature. On the Spirit that inspires 
it does it depend for the creation of all true sym- 
pathies it can have. Such was the eloquence of 
Jesus and his apostles, and such has ever char- 
acterized true evangelical ministers. 

There is an eloquence suited to the bar. The 
lawyer has before him a class of mental qualities 
< — a kind of passions — to wake up, excite, and 
operate upon. His aims in his department of 
labour are to gain " points of law," — not, neces- 
sarily, gospel. 

There is but one human nature on which all 
kinds of eloquence are made to operate, either 
regenerate or unregenerate. The eloquence of 
the lawyer, statesman, or player, should not then 
come into the pulpit. Nature, unsaved by such 
eloquence, can be tossed into mountain waves of 
passion by the tempest, or lulled into ripples by 
the zephyr; but the heart and moral character 
will remain unchanged, and left to grow worse 
and worse. 

We need an eloquence of the Holy Ghost's 
own making; — such as the first Methodist preach- 
ers displayed in answering their divine call, and 
such as is yet at work in dismantling the fortifi- 
cations of hell! Through such eloquence as 
could not be gainsayed or resisted, sinners by 
thousands and millions, since the days of Wes- 



CALL TO THE MINISTRY. 



171 



ley, have heard the word, have been aided in 
keeping it, and are now in the climes of endless 
day. By such eloquence, the ministers of Christ 
are destined to shake the world from the thral- 
dom of Satan ; for the glorious gospel will finally 
prevail over all opposing forces, and joyous praise 
and song roll up to heaven from all tongues and 
hearts of this " paradise regained." " Unto him 
that loved us and washed us from our sins in his 
own blood, ... to him be glory throughout all 
ages, world without end," 



If $ THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



CHAPTER IX. 

DEALINGS OF PROVIDENCE. 

The belief of an all-wise, all-directing Providence is a 
powerful support under the most grievous accidents of 
life. — Dr. Adam Clarke. 

Divine Providence affords, with many other 
blessings, a school for the Christian, wherein he 
may learn lessons to profit him not only in the 
present life, but in that life where memory will 
repeat forever the things learned in time. God 
is superintending the affairs of men while with 
them probationary life lasts, and from this source 
of instruction "a pure language" is heard by the 
ear of faith. Although equality and justice are 
not yet seen in equal distribution abroad over the 
earth, there are, nevertheless, indubitable marks 
of the divine superintendence, giving cheering as- 
surance that the author of Bible promises still 
dwells among men, carrying on his saving opera- 
tions, and will do so to the close of time. Not 
an event, nor an action, nor a thought the most 
insignificant in our estimation, but that God sees, 
and knows, and has reference to in some way in 
the management of the vast concerns of the uni- 
verse. " Not a sparrow falls to the ground with- 



DEALINGS OF PROVIDENCE. 



173 



out his notice," and even the hairs of every 
human head are all numbered. Most salutary 
in effect has ever been the contemplation of God's 
providence in its minute particulars on the Chris- 
tian mind and heart. But Providence must not 
be so received as to attribute evil actions to the 
divine being, nor to divest man of his moral re- 
sponsibility in the relations sustained between the 
Supreme Governor and the governed. In the 
dealings of a gracious Providence I have experi- 
enced and observed much that has been instruct- 
ive to me, and illustrative of Bible truths. 

The first time my mind was brought into strik- 
ing contact with the subject of Divine Providence, 
in its interposition in the minuiice of human con- 
cerns, was while I was in the first class-meeting 
after my conversion. The leader, being faithful 
to his calling, after we had enjoyed a sweet season 
from God's presence, manifested in our exercises, 
reminded us of our duty in the support we should 
give to the gospel as preached among us. (I 
always, since my eyes have been opened, have 
liked this voluntary w r ay of supporting the minis- 
try ; for it is so compatible with the gospel spirit, 
and is not dependent on the " highest seats in the 
synagogue" nor an unbelieving world for suc- 
cess.) I felt in my pocket, and, as Providence 
was to afford me instruction, I had but one shil- 



174 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

ling there, and had no certain expectation of an 
earthly source of supply elsewhere. I thought 
on the loaf my family would need on the mor- 
row; but then the shilling was God's, and so was 
the loaf, and I too. The thought came with 
power to me, " Can I exhaust the small means of 
my support now in my possession if I give my 
shilling for the support of the divinely instituted 
means of disseminating the bread of life ? Will 
it cut off my supplies from the Infinite Source if 
my shilling is given in this way, and deprive me 
of bread to-morrow V These were my thoughts, 
and the smallness of the sum did not depreciate 
the importance of the question. While thus en- 
gaged in thought, a member rose up and said, "It 
is hard times, and I, for one, can give no more 
money in this way." He was one who had a 
nice property, and was prospering. His weekly 
three-cent contribution, that he had for some time 
adhered to, was withheld, with the motive of bet- 
tering his condition. 

My shilling, in support of the gospel, was paid 
to God, its owner, and my pocket was left empty, 
and I resolved that night that my " mite" should 
never be kept from the Lord's treasury. I was 
anxious to have an exhibition of truth in practical 
every-day matters of life on the subject. It 
would go further with me than theory. I then 



DEALINGS OF PROVIDENCE. lTo 

believed that it was just as impossible for a 
Christian to make himself bankrupt by a proper 
use of his means — money, talents, and time — to 
do God's will, as for the sun to lose in bulk and 
brightness by continual shining, by imparting 
light and heat to needy worlds around him. 
God, in the same manner, has given us money 
and talents for the good of others, and made our 
use of these means inseparable from our own 
well-being ; and as talents are not exhausted by 
such use, but generally increased, so also wealth 
is not diminished, but rather augmented. I had 
bread the next morning, and have adhered to my 
humble mite-giving without at all endangering 
my resources. But the economical brother soon 
became bankrupt and backslidden. I saw him 
in poverty, and thought of his saving determina- 
tion by withholding from God. He was sober 
and industrious ; he was stingy ; but how could 
he increase his capital by attempting to defraud 
God ? " Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall 
he also reap." 

At the time of my conversion I was teaching 
a little school, which afforded me but a very 
slender support. I soon made it a matter of earn- 
est prayer to God to lead me in all things, tem- 
poral as well as spiritual ; for I believed that be- 
ing a Christian required living by faith " the life 



176 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

that now is," as well as in reference to " that which 
is to come." I greatly feared choosing my own 
wa}', and believed that prayer, in faith, for " our 
daily bread" was as needful as prayer in faith for 
" the forgiveness of our trespasses." I soon was 
convinced that I should seek other employment, 
as the one in which I was engaged did not afford 
me a living, and also disagreed with my constitu- 
tion. 

For the purpose of seeking a change of occu- 
pation I left home with a friend, who was then 
decidedly pious, to visit the State of Connecticut 
during the autumn of 1833. My friend had rela- 
tives and acquaintances in that State, and we set 
off together in his own vehicle. I expected to be 
absent about two weeks. I found benefit both for 
soul and body from this trip, and my friend and 
I wished to do good to others while God was so 
good to us. For this purpose we visited families 
during the day for religious conversation with 
them and prayer, and in the evening we held 
meetings — my friend was a local preacher — for 
preaching, exhortation, and relating experience. 
Delightful, indeed, was this employment to me, 
and conversions showed themselves as the fruit 
of our labour. The simple statement of facts, in 
the things of grace experimentally known, made 
in the demonstration of the Spirit, have been a 



DEALINGS OF PROVIDENCE. ill 

powerful means in the work of revival, though 
among the " weak things" that God has seen fit 
to employ. Relating experience with that warmth 
of heart which the Spirit gives to young converts 
in many cases is what is really needed more than 
some sermons described by an old eccentric 
preacher as being " as straight and well laid out 
as a corpse, and as cold and dead." 

We visited Sawpits, Norwalk, Stamford, Bridge- 
port, Stratford, and Derby, and held meetings or 
exercised in meetings in each place ; also in 
Tuckahoe and New-Rochelle our testimony was 
borne in favour of vital religion. 

On this visit I became acquainted with Yankee 
inquisitiveness as well as with Yankee hospitality. 
I was introduced as a " converted infidel" to a 
middle-aged lady of some intelligence and not a 
little loquacity, who immediately exclaimed, M A 
converted infidel !" Rising from her seat and ad- 
justing her gold spectacles, she continued, "Then, 
sir, you are a converted infidel, are you ? What 
is your age ?" I told her. " What is your em- 
ployment ? Are you married ? Is your wife 
large, or small, like yourself ? Where were you 
born ? I am sure it must have been a place not 
favoured with much light, or you could not have 
been an infidel !" She was a single as well as 
singular lady, and there was not much danger of 
12 



1*78 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

her becoming the wife of an infidel from all ap- 
pearance. 

From the first day that T started from home, I 
had resolved to pray for the conversion of my 
wife a number of times each day. The two 
weeks having nearly expired, we proceeded on 
our way homeward without any openings of 
Providence appearing to me for suitable secular 
employment. Then temptations beset me that I 
had, in going with my friend to Connecticut, re- 
lied on my own imaginary impressions, instead 
of being led by the Spirit of truth and the indica- 
tions of Providence. How different were my feel- 
ings now from what they had been, when, nearly 
two weeks before, I had travelled along the bank 
that overlooks Long Island Sound. O, then my 
mind and heart ran over with delight, on that 
clear day of breeze and sunshine, from the rap- 
turous beauty of the scene. The blue bended 
sky, and the far off " glad waters of the dark 
blue " Sound, had afforded me a heavenly poetry 
of soul ; but now I was sad, fearing I had chosen 
my own way instead of the Lord's. 

On our arrival in the city of New- York, my 
friend and I were somehow or other separated, 
each thinking the other had gone home. I had 
not one cent in ray pocket, and it was Satur- 
day afternoon. This made the utility of my trip 



DEALINGS OF PROVIDENCE. 1*79 

appear still more doubtful. Praying for direction 
as I walked along the street, I suddenly met a 
Newark acquaintance, who was desirous of some 
conversation on the subject of religion with me, 
as he said. The needed sum was borrowed of 
him, and we took passage in the steamboat for 
Newark. On my way I had a special oppor- 
tunity of helping inquiring minds to the knowl- 
edge of the truth, in a saving sense. Had I not 
been left in New- York, this rare opportunity would 
not have been afforded me. When I arrived at 
home I found that God had cared for my family. 
Some little money that had been some time due 
to me had been paid to my wife, by which her 
wants had been supplied. God had converted 
her soul during my absence, and that was a sig- 
nal mark of the divine approbation ; and a 
suitable employment God in his goodness had 
provided for me, in the form of letter-carrying. 
The post-master, the very day before I came 
home, had sent a person to see me, in order to 
engage me in this business. In this business I 
could see adaptedness to my health, immediate 
support, and being a "living epistle," bearing 
words of life " to be read of all men," to whom 
letter-carrying would lead me. 

Fraudulent means have never, by Divine Provi- 
dence, been allowed to be of advantage to those 



180 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



who use them. This truth was instilled into my 
mincl by my parents, who always acted before 
their children on principles of the strictest honesty, 
and from which I have never in my life in the 
least deviated. I owed some debts when I was 
converted, which troubled me. Before I would 
have cheated a mortal out of his just dues, I 
would have been willing to drain my blood from 
my veins, even while an infidel. I owed a grocer 
a debt, and he called on me to have it . settled. 
I had no money. He spoke of selling my furni- 
ture. I told him I should take no measures to 
hinder him, as the debt was just; and if my 
property failed to bring the amount of money due 
him, I would pay him the balance when I could. 
In reply to his remark, that a person had volun- 
teered to pay it for me and wait for /iis.pay, I. 
refused, on the ground that the grocer, if any one, 
should be the loser by me, having been the one 
receiving the profit of my custom. He did not 
sue me, and in six months I had the money for 
him in my pocket. I then repaired to his store, 
at which I had also continued my trade as much 
as possible during the past six months, and found 
the grocer in. "Sir," said I, "you have beeu 
very obliging to me in waiting on me, and now 
please add the probable cost of selling my goods 
by law, if you had done it, and the interest on 



DEALINGS OF PROVIDENCE. 



181 



the amount I owe you, and I will settle with 
you." He looked at me for a moment as though 
I was a strange being — because I acted merely on 
honest principles, as every man should act — and 
said : " No, sir ; you shall not pay cost, nor interest, 
nor even the full amount of your bill." And he 
threw off a small trifle of it, and I paid him. 
God's providence has ever favoured such a course 
as I took, and the above specimen is given for 
the purpose of inducing others of the readers of 
this paragraph, who may be poor, to " go and do 
likewise," and be assured that all will come out 
right. 

Another incident, in which I have thought I 
saw a mark of divine interposition in some small 
degree, I will give, to show that God does con- 
descend to deal with humble men on earth. I 
owed a man a sum of money, which came due 
on a certain day specified, on which I was par- 
ticularly anxious not to disappoint my friend. 
When the day arrived, notwithstanding all my 
care, I lacked twenty dollars to meet the amount 
I owed. This was rather strange to me, as I 
thought I had done my best. On the morning 
of that day I rose early and meditated on the 
matter. Some might think twenty dollars a 
small matter to meditate upon ; but I wished to 
see ivhere, if at all, I had erred. True, I had 



182 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



given away some money to the poor. I had not 
kept account of how much. Had I displeased 
God in this ? Or why was Providence seemingly 
suffering me to feel the regret of a broken promise 
made to my neighbour? I took no breakfast, 
but went from home fasting, to see what God 
was about to unfold to me. In a secluded place 
I bowed to God in mighty prayer. Before I rose 
from my knees I was impressed with a strong 
assurance that the twenty dollars would be in my 
possession by the hour I needed it. I had not 
gone far before I was accosted by a man — a good 
Methodist — with these words : " My brother, just 
stop, I have something for you. I had a dream 
last night. In it I was told to let you have 
twenty dollars, the extra profit of my business 
last week." Saying which, he took from his 
pocket-book four five-dollar notes, and laid them 
down before me on a full sack that stood on the 
side-walk. I took the money and paid my 
debt, with an increased confidence in the provi- 
dence of God, not regretting that I had given a 
few shillings to the poor. 

One day, having business to transact with a 
person living in Broad-street, I was standing at 
his door knocking for admittance. I was not 
heard until I had used the " knocker" a number 
of times. During this short interval, an import- 



DEALINGS OF PROVIDENCE. 



183 



ant particular, which demanded of me five dol- 
lars more than I then possessed, was brought to 
my mind with force. A sigh of regret escaped 
me, followed by an ejaculatory prayer for relief. 
Turning round I saw a man, an Englishman, and 
an apparent stranger, walking fast down the 
street toward me. He came directly up to me, 
and with his hand thrust something into my 
vest pocket, without saying a word. I felt in 
my pocket and found he had deposited a guinea, 
which was sufficient for my present need. He 
told me afterward that he had fallen heir to an 
estate in England, and as he had realized spiritual 
benefit from my conversation on the subject of 
religion with some of his friends, he wished to 
show me a token of kindness for it, and there- 
fore gave me the gold. 

Once, while helping in a protracted meeting in 
the Methodist Episcopal Church in Allen-street, 

itfew-York, I stayed at the house of brother 1ST 

S now enjoying his rest in heaven. While 

at his house, I used great plainness of speech to 
all the unconverted members of the family, urging 
upon them the importance of being " born again," 
if they would be happy here and hereafter. The 
daughters were polished and polite, and the 
hospitality I enjoyed was unreserved and warm, 
flowing evidently from hearts of Christian kind- 



184 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



ness. During the last night of my stay there, I 
was sorely buffeted by the enemy of my soul. I 
thought of the kindness with which I was treated, 
and the plainness and severity I had returned 
for it. True, I had meant it all for their good ; 
but how could they know my meaning ? I got 
up in the night and prayed for deliverance from 
temptation. In the morning, after breakfast, as 

I was about leaving, brother S , taking me 

on one side, said, " Now, my dear brother, you 
have been faithful to those who are near and 
dear to me ; remember that my house is your 
home whenever you will please to make it such. 
Here, take this," said he, handing me ten dollars, 
very much needed at the time, and adding, " Be 
faithful to God, brother, and he will always clear 
your way, and cause things to work together for 
good." Many times since I have thought that 
there is nothing good ever gained by going 
round the cross, or by endeavouring to " heal the 
hurt of the daughter of God's people slightly." 

Having on a certain occasion prayed at the 
bedside of a sick woman who was failing fast 
with consumption, I looked around on the scanty 
apartment and asked her if she had anything to 
eat in the house. She pointed to a mug that 
stood upon the stand, and a few broken crackers 
by it, and, with a tear in her sunken eye, said, 



DEALINGS OF PROVIDENCE. 



185 



"The Lord will provide." I took some small 
change from my pocket and laid it on the stand, 
and departed. Just as I was stepping into the 
street, I was tempted to think of my own need. 
I prayed that the Lord would remove the tempta- 
tion, as I had reason to believe that it was not a 
bad spirit that had led me to leave some of God's 
money with the poor woman who so much needed 
it. I looked out, and there before me stood a 
person who handed me a bill, of considerable 
amount, to collect for him of a wealthy individ- 
ual. I took the paper and in a few minutes had 
it cashed, and received for my service four dollars 
and fifty cents. Now all this transpired in just 
such a manner, at such a time, and under such 
circumstances, as most convincingly showed me 
that Providence will bring to pass, in experi- 
mental reality, the Bible truth, "He that hath 
pity upon the poor, lendeth unto the Lord." 

On one Saturday evening, cold and. windy, I 
thought of an afflicted family living in Halsey- 
street. Aaron was the husband's name, — the 
same Aaron referred to in the fifth chapter, — 
and father of that family. He was now sick, and 
poor, and destitute; and, dreary as the weather 
was, I was determined to visit him. I found him 
up stairs in his little room, with the family gath- 
ered all around the stove, which had in it nearly 



186 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

trie last of his fuel. He and his companion were 
both pious, and yet they were subjects of adver- 
sity and sorrow. After some conversation on the 
dearest of all subjects to the Christian's heart, I 
prayed with them ; while in the exercise of which, 
I was strangely impressed that they were in pe- 
culiar need. At the close of prayer, as I was 
about retiring, I inquired of them if they had any 
bread in the house j I was answered in the neg- 
ative. I gave them a shilling to buy a loaf. I 
was thanked. " Have you any meat or butter f 
I continued. " We can do without such luxu- 
ries," said the emaciated man. I gave two shil- 
lings more, besides the tears, which were not 
counted. I then told them to believe and take 
courage, and they should never long want any 
good thing. As I left I thought I felt as though 
I had not lost any of my religion by my visit to 
the afflicted. On the Monday ensuing, I think, 
as I was walking along the street, a person from 
the South, who had seen me before, came close 
along side of me and dropped a sum of money 
into my pocket, saying I must take it as a token 
of his feelings for me. This was the same indi- 
vidual referred to in the eighth chapter as bearing 
his testimony in favour of religion, after I had 
spoken. 

In long years after the period above referred 



DEALINGS OF PROVIDENCE. 187 

to, as I was walking alone through a street 
rather new, I heard my name called. I turned 
around, and Aaron, the afflicted man above de- 
scribed, desired me to come into his house. 
While seated on the sofa he and his wife awak- 
ened my mind afresh to the by-gone days of their 
affliction. They informed me that on the very 
night I had prayed with them and encouraged 
them by the promises of God, they had resolved 
to trust God fully and take courage, and had 
prospered in temporal concerns ever since; that 
they owned the nice place they then occupied, 
and had often, with thankfulness and weeping, 
spoken together on the goodness of the Lord in 
providing for them. But Aaron has now the 
u saints' rest" in a far superior mansion on high. 

The business of letter-carrying gave me good 
opportunity of gaining experimental knowledge 
of the ways of God, and also the ways of man. 
I was brought into contact with all. classes of 
character, and all grades of society and peculiari- 
ties of nature. The cellar, the garret, the poor- 
house, and the prison, I chose to visit, with a de- 
sire to profit and be, at the same time, profited. 
I was as happy while praying with the criminal 
in his cell as I was with the elite, kneeling on 
Brussels carpet ; in the poor-house, as when sur- 
rounded with the glitter of earthly magnificence. 



188 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



Jesus gave me an introduction to all classes, and 
"privately to those of reputation." In visiting 
the poorer classes I found more wretchedness than 
I had before thought existed in this land of plenty • 
How abject and distressed have I seen them in 
the winter season, shivering with cold and hag- 
gard from hunger and sickness, without fuel or 
food ! Families of small children half-clad, pale, 
and sickly, huddled together with decrepit age, 
during the fall and winter of 1837, have left on 
my weeping memory sketches never to be effaced. 
How I pitied poor little children in gloomy cel- 
lars, with small cups of blue milk, and each a po- 
tato for their daily rations. And such scenes of 
wretchedness were often traced to intemperance. 
I took pleasure in searching out instances of suf- 
fering, and of giving information to those who had 
the means of relief and the disposition to apply 
them. There were some in those trying times 
who had hearts to feel and hands to do. 

No doubt the rightful Proprietor of the universe 
wills that money, like talents and gracious gifts, 
should be used in his providential dealings and 
the prosecution of his gracious purposes, in refer- 
ence to human salvation and redemption. The 
ritual sacrifices under the Mosaic dispensation 
were expensive. The Temple, by divine direction, 
was made to cost an immense sum. God's gold 



DEALINGS OF PROVIDENCE. 



189 



and silver were made to be used for his glory ; 
and if wealth be devoted to any other use, it 
is made by its possessor to eat hereafter as doth 
a canker. Such gold and silver in "rust" will be 
a " witness" against improper users, and will ff eat 
their flesh as it were fire." The poor have ever 
been among us, affording good opportunities for 
exercising in the use of money according to the 
will of God. How thankful should rich men be 
that the poor are among them — not because they 
can, as they often do, oppress them in withhold- 
ing from them the due wages of their hire — but 
that they may practise upon them th« heavenly 
principles of charity and benevolence. 0, when 
the religion of Jesus becomes so intense in the 
heart that the will of God will continually be 
sought with anxious desire to abide by it, then 
will this powerful principle of gospel benevolence 
go out in acts of kindness in the life to one another, 
and especially to the poor — then will his king- 
dom, which is not of this world, be more than a 
match for the forces arrayed against it. When 
avarice, and covetousness, and selfishness shall be 
burned out of the Church by holy fire from heav- 
en ; when the carnal mind in it shall be palsied 
by the shock of divine power, which is coming, 
and shall quivering die and go to its own place, 
then shall the power of Christianity be rapid in 



190 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

its swell, and spread until, in circles of sheeted 
flame, it rolls from the equator's fiery girdle to 
the frozen poles. It has long been hindered in 
its wonted " goings-forth" by the miserly grasp 
of man on God's gold and silver; but it will 
not always be so. I know it is a truth, as often 
alleged, that many of the poor are not the follow- 
ers of Christ ; and that their poverty is, to a degree, 
the fruit of the service they render to Satan. 
But what then ? Are the true children of God 
relieved from the performance of their duty in 
reference to them ? Does not God send his rain 
upon the unjust as well as the just ? And did 
not Christ die for the ungodly ? Must we not 
look for some features of resemblance in the 
Christian character — the children of God — to the 
likeness of the heavenly Father and the elder 
Brother ? Will theory save us, when it is " prac- 
tice that makes perfect F' 

We need a clear view to be taken of our own 
perfect weakness, that we may come down to 
that state of humility demanded, in order properly 
to estimate our lives in this world by the real 
benefit they may be to others ; and he who does 
not desire life more from the good that that life 
imparts in its influence on those around, is not 
yet filling up that niche of gracious preparation so 
essential to his entrance into the kingdom of 



DEALINGS OF PROVIDENCE. 191 

heaven. This world, with our own perverse 
natures, and Satan, forms a dreadful trium- 
virate, combined against the Christian pilgrim 
in his upward course. The state of things in 
the present life forms a test of integrity to God, 
and affords a field for the activity and. display of 
heavenly virtues. It is, therefore, better than if 
we had no such test .to try us, and no such op- 
posing forces, by which, in resisting, we make 
exertions that develop the Christian heart and 
mind. But this combined foe must be overcome 
by following the glorious "Conqueror" on the 
"white horse." The heights of Zion are to be 
finally gained by obediently marching under the 
blood-stained banner of Immanuel ; warring with 
him a continual warfare against his enemy ; stem- 
ming counter currents, and facing driving storms, 
until the spirit, leaving the body, shines in the first 
flash of celestial day. Sinai, Calvary, and Tabor 
are three typical mountain stepping-stones on the 
way to the New Jerusalem : fire, blood, and 
then " the glory that should follow the law, 
grace, and then the Truth — the " end of the law 
for righteousness to every one that belie veth." 
And in all these things of revelation and grace, 
providence is illustrated ; and likewise providence 
in return illustrates the truths of redemption. 
The danger of riches is great; yet how often 



192 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



'preferred to the more safe condition. The hand 
of God's providential dealings is worth seeing. 
This hand was not separated and hidden from 
me by a thick wall of wealth. I looked to God 
for temporal blessings, without the temptation to 
lean upon my possessions. The looking by faith 
was to me of more value than the temporal sup- 
ply that came. The manner of providing for me 
was more needed to give instruction in the things 
of God for heavenly use, than the temporal pro- 
vision received was for temporal convenience. 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



193 



CHAPTER X. 

EVIDENCES OF BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 
His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. — Bible. 

Truth is an uncreated, eternal, and unchangeable 
law of mental and moral operation, and is not 
dependent on any borrowed light for its reveal- 
ings to the human mind. It is consistent with 
itself throughout all the range of being. In 
science, morals, and religion, truth manifests it- 
self in its own illustrations, to minds prepared to 
receive it, as peculiarly distinguished in its as- 
pects from all forms of error and falsehood as 
light is from darkness. 

The love of divine truth, and an ardent desire 
after the knowledge of it, indicate a .work of 
grace on the heart. This form of truth is god- 
ly sincerity, and is a stream from the great 
Fountain. The Spirit of Truth is the Holy Spirit 
of God : in this form truth is alive and active. 
From such life and activity has proceeded all the 
inspiration that has furnished us with the Holy . 
Scriptures, and that imparts to the hearts of be- 
lievers the love of truth connected with salvation. 
13 



194 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

This love of truth led Paul to the Fountain of its 
inspiration, where was revealed to him the gos- 
pel principles which were to go forth, with suita- 
ble means and instrumentalities, to the ultimate 
accomplishment of the far-reaching purposes of 
human redemption. It was the ardent love of 
truth that cheered the heart of banished John, 
while on lonely Patmos, and prepared him to be 
the selected repository of sublime revelations from 
the opened " everlasting doors " of the heavenly 
world. 

The truth of God's existence, attributes, and 
will is not to be discovered from the nature of 
things around us, as some erroneously affirm ; 
but is revealed in the divine word by the Holy 
Spirit, that inspired the sacred penmen to write 
it, and now opens the understanding of the be- 
liever to receive it. The exact workings of the 
many parts in the " stupendous whole " of nature, 
as may be viewed by the eye of science, are not 
intended by the Creator to afford us a revelation 
of himself; for if this had been the case, they 
would have been sufficient, and the Bible and the 
Holy Ghost would not have been needed nor 
given. That nature in its manifold machinery 
and laws evinces marks of contrivance and de- 
sign, as the work and operation of an all- wise 
Intelligence, is true ; but such marks are no 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



195 



proof of the being and character of God to the 
animal creation, and reason unaided would not 
see God revealed in material things. The " eter- 
nal power and Godhead " we are impressed with 
by the Spirit of God within, giving capacity 
for spiritual exercises. The visible works of God, 
to those in communion with him by his Spirit, 
help to illustrate saving truth ; but it does not 
honour God for us to trust more in things seen than 
in " things not seen." Things seen are incapable 
of supporting faith ; for believing them is a thing 
that cannot be avoided, and does not involve, 
therefore, any suitable tests of spiritual integrity. 
God requires us to believe the words that he has 
spoken, and the dictates of his Spirit within up, 
in order to be acquainted with saving truth. 

Let, then, the diversities and varieties in end- 
less fractional differences from sameness, show 
themselves in all the moving masses of matter 
around us. Let the sun, himself, be unequal in 
his motion round the centre of gravity* — a regular 

* The sun, while he moves round on his own axis, 
moves also in an orbit smaller than his own periphery 
round the centre of gravity of the entire mass of mat- 
ter of the solar system. This centre is not always in 
one point, because of the variableness at different times 
of planetary attractions. Such apparent want of order 
is not to be overlooked, although it argues nothing 
against revelation, but for it. 



196 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



gTadation not appear in the sizes of the planets — 
the earth have an overplus of hours, minutes, and 
seconds, from want of exactness in annual revolu- 
tion with the precession of the equinoxes — the 
comets, also, proving that the power of motion 
with them is not all the while operating at right 
angles with the line of attraction in their eccentric 
orbits ; — is not the universe, for all this, as good 
in showing the "handiwork" of God, as if it 
were, as man often declares it to be — so much like 
the works of man, in comprehended symmetry ? 

And what are the laws of nature, as they are 
called, but the modes in which God chooses to 
operate with his power in carrying on the rapid 
and continued movements of material worlds, with 
all their appurtenances of life and animation in 
his support, regulation, and government of the 
universe? Between the material works of God 
and his revelation to man, there is a resemblance. 
In both there is a dissimilarity from all human 
productions. The Scriptures are found to be 
lacking in the same kind of symmetry that the 
rest of the works of God are, according to man's 
taste and rules of measurement. The law, gos- 
pel, precepts, doctrines, and promises, are found 
through all the pages of the Bible, without any 
visible marks of concert or concentration flowing 
from a premeditated plan of arrangement. Jesus 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



197 



Christ and Christ crucified, it is true, is the 
central lamp that lights up the whole scene of 
human redemption. Through this apparent di- 
versity and variety, man, in all the variety of his 
conditions, aspects, circumstances, and capacities, 
finds ample provisions for all his wants. Thus 
the saving expedient which God, in love, has de- 
vised for the salvation of sinners, he has secured 
by bars, stronger than adamant, against its ene- 
mies ; and even the objections brought against 
its truth by infidels, he turns into arguments in 
favour of the divinity of its claims. 

When divine truth is experienced in its saving- 
power, everything in nature illustrates its beauty. 
Even the inconsistencies of error prove the ab- 
sence of truth as the cause ; and as opposites illus- 
trate each other, so is truth in its identity made 
more palpable by the absurdity of its opposites — 
error and falsehood. 

On a certain occasion, shortly after my conver- 
sion, I was requested by some of my old asso- 
ciates, whom I met on a steamboat, to join them 
in a free conversation on the subject of our dif- 
ferences of opinion. "While seated together in a 
semicircle, M. A — — , who held that the Chris- 
tian religion could not be true, because of the in- 
consistency of its subjects, wished me to ash and 
answer questions with him, alternately. And it 



198 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

was agreed, before the company, that we should 
treat each other on the presumption that we be- 
lieved each other to be candid in our questions 
and answers, and thus each act consistently. I 
was requested to propound the first question ; and 
I proceeded: "Mr. A , if the Christian re- 
ligion is true, do you believe / enjoy it 2" " Cer- 
tainly," said he ; " if such a religion has an exist- 
ence, as some say it has, I believe you possess it." 
" Now," said I, " it is your turn to question me." 
He replied, "I would be as well suited if you 
would do all the questioning — I can answer!" 
I then inquired, " If this religion be true, do you 
wish to possess it I " Of course I do," was his 
reply, I then turned round to the company, and 
said : " Gentlemen, you have been witnesses to the 

agreement between Mr. A and myself, to 

presume on the sincerity of each other's replies 

to questions ; and also, you recollect, Mr. A 

dislikes very much anything like inconsistency. 
He has made confession in his answers to my 
questions, before you all, that if religion be true, 
he believes / enjoy it, and he wishes, on the 
same condition, to have it himself. Now, in this 
he has declared that I have ability, in his estima- 
tion, to instruct him in that which he desires to 
attain. Consistency demands, then, of both of us, 
that we kneel down here, in the cabin, and that I 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



199 



pray for Mr. , and he comply with my in- 
structions." As I was making preparations to 
kneel, Mr. A got up in ill-humour, not will- 
ing to be consistent with his profession. I left 
him, the butt of the ridicule of his own party, 
with the advice, that truth, whenever he would 
in humility and prayer determine to abide by it, 
would make him a consistent man. 

The truth of excellence in Christianity is illus- 
trated in that purity looked for in the Chris- 
tian character, by all men, as essential to it, and 
the general disappointment expressed when that 
purity does not appear in the character of Chris- 
tian professors. This is a law of our present con- 
stitution, to expect good to flow from Christianity, 
and we can have no abiding impression that 
principles of opposition to this gracious scheme 
will be attended with real good to those who may * 
cherish them. 

A deistical associate of mine in former days, of 
some note in the political world, and a tavern- 
keeper, expressed great sorrow for me for being 
so weak as to become a converted man and a 
Methodist. He sought an interview with me in 
order to strengthen my mind against Jesus Christ 
and his religion. After some unavailing labour 
on this point he said : " It is quite likely you will 
persist in thinking that you are right, and that I 



200 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

am wrong. Well, I always thought that you 
were weak-minded. Your brother David is much 
your superior, I tell you." (At this time my 
brother was also an infidel.) "I do not claim 
to be strong in intellectual powers," I replied, 
" and for my infidel brother being my superior, it 
has nothing to do with the question of the truth 
of religion." 

Sometime afterward my brother was converted, 
and his infidelity fared as mine had done. I had 
not told him how high he stood in the estimation 
of the tavern-keeper, and it struck me that the 
superiority of his mind might now be a benefit 
to him, so we together paid " mine host" a visit. 
We found him in the bar-room, (what a bar to 
religion !) and were politely invited to be seated. 
In conversation the time was occupied by the 
tavern-keeper and my brother, and the subject 
of it was, of course, the religion of the Bible. 
This being defended by my brother, he was 
strongly suspected of being a converted man. At 
length they both rose and were about to separate, 
when my brother said, " Well, sir, you will not 
take the evidence the Bible affords nor my testi- 
mony of the truth of religion ; still, let me ask you, 
Do you not believe that goodness of influence and 
the guidance of divine truth go together ?" 

" I do, indeed," was the reply. 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



201 



" Very well," resumed my brother : " suppose 
now an infidel and a Christian should both come 
to this bar and drink of your liquor to drunken- 
ness, would they be affected alike by such con- 
duct ? Would such a course make the Christian 
less a Christian than he was before ?" 

"I think it would," was the tavern-keeper's 
honest reply, 

" But," continued my brother, " would the in- 
fidel become less an infidel by getting drunk I" 

" Well — really — I — suppose not," confessed the 
confused man. 

"Kow," said my brother, ''out of your own 
mouth it is here declared that Christianity is too 
good to harmonize with the evil of drunkenness, 
and that infidelity is so bad that its qualities are 
not made worse by intemperance and crime ; and 
yet you persist in occupying the wrong side of the 
question !" 

I then stepped up to our .landlord and whis- 
pered loudly in his ear, " You know, sir, you told 
me, some time ago, that my brother's mind was 
far superior to mine ; therefore I kept still. How 
do you like his mind now, sir ? Is it strong 
enough ?" He turned around, looking at his 
decanters, and we left. 

Revealed religion, like all truth, is consistent 
with itself from all its premises to its conclusions ; 



202 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



but inconsistency is an inseparable characteristic 
of all scepticism in regard to its truths. Scepti- 
cism is a tissue of untenable doubts and conjec- 
tures, supported by ignorance, pride, and natural 
depravity. 

Having some business to transact at a public- 
house on a certain day, I met there a young man 
of pedantic deportment, who did not fail to exhibit 
his smattering of Latin and Greek, and his scep- 
tical pretensions. He was boisterous in his dec- 
larations of his strong doubts and solid objections 
in regard to Bible truths. To my entreaties that 
he would seek an acquaintance with Christ and 
his religion, he replied, " You are an ignorant 
man. Priestcraft has made of you a deluded 
dupe ; and thousands like you are led away by 
fanaticism. I tell you, sir, there is no truth in 
what you call Christ's religion; and more than 
that, there never was such a person as Jesus 
Christ." 

The people, to a dozen or more, gathered around 
us, staring, with astonishment, at the learned 
young man, wondering, it might be, which was 
the more solid — his doubts or his head. While 
he stood before me, swelling with the pride of im- 
portance and the victory he had gained, I looked 
up and my eyes rested on an almanac which had, 
on the outside leaf, in large letters, "Anno 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



203 



Domini." The young man's desire to appear 
learned, it struck me, had much to do with his 
scepticism, and could be made the means by 
which, "out of his own mouth, to judge him." 
I, therefore, after conversing awhile on another 
part of the subject, turned to the old almanac, 
and, with an air of inquiry, said, " Why, I won- 
der, is Anno Domini printed on almanacs P 

The young man instantly seized upon the 
golden opportunity to show his great learning, 
and, with much self-conceit, exclaimed aloud, 
a Anno Domini is a Latin word, sir, and means 
in the year of our Lord." 

" Will you, then, be so kind as to tell us, see- 
ing you are a learned man, who was our Lord, 
and how the words Anno Domini came to be 
used in denoting his year — the year of his birth 
— if there never was, as you say, such a person 
as our Lord 8" I inquired. The young man 
looked around on countenances that, spoke both 
pity and contempt for him, and said, " Gentle- 
men, I declare I did not think of that." How 
many in eternity, w r e have reason to believe, will 
say, with the young man, when they shall feel the 
conclusions of the premises they are now laying- 
down, " O, I did not think of this !" 

Christianity is exclusive in its claims. It is es- 
tablished by laws that operate in all consciences 



204 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

of the human race. Its principles are interlaced 
in a spiritual network with the minds and hearts 
of all men, so that no man can free himself from 
its fears and its hopes. Salvation through Christ 
is the only system that, in an exclusive and pe- 
culiar manner, is so adapted to the states of man- 
kind in all their variety as not to find a rival in 
any other system that could possibly be de- 
vised. 

On a certain occasion, hearing a person use 
profane language in the company of a number 
of young men, I took him to do for the wicked- 
ness and pernicious influence of his conduct. He 
replied, "I am an infidel by profession, as you 
are by profession a Christian. Swearing is my 
privilege, as much as praying is yours, if justice 
had the sway. You may pray as much as you 
please, and I will swear as much as I please ; 
for I am as sincere in my infidelity as you are 
in your religion." I then replied, " Sir, I take 
the liberty to express to you my doubts about 
your sincerity in infidelity being like the sincerity 
of the Christian ; and I challenge you to the 
test of showing it." He replied, " I will meet you 
on the ground of any test you please." " Then," 
said I, " let our opposing sentiments, for the sake 
of testing, be called creeds. My creed I will rep- 
resent by the atoning blood of Christ, for it is 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



205 



the central idea of all saving truth. Yours may 
be represented by the rejection of all interest in 
the atonement. Now, can you be as sincere in 
the rejection of my creed as I can be in the re- 
jection of yours?" He replied, "I think I can ; 
go ahead !" " Then, before this company, I 
avow my determination to trample upon and 
spurn your creed until my latest breath, so help 
me God !" I remarked. u And now, dare you in 
the same deliberate manner, to show your sincerity 
in the choice you have made, treat my creed as 
I have done yours? Dare you avow that you 
intend during life to trample on the blood of the 
only Redeemer, as I have vowed to trample on 
your infidelity, to show my sincerity in the safety 
of the choice I have made?" After a pause, 
with the remains of a blush lingering upon his 
countenance, he made this reluctant reply : a T 
will do no such thing." 

Christianity cannot possibly have a stronger 
argument in its favour than its true definition. 
A very striking difference between Christians and 
infidels is, the fact that Christians have an ex- 
perimental knowledge of the subject of religion, 
and of the same subject infidels are ignorant. 
Christian knowledge and infidel ignorance sepa- 
rate the two opposite parties from one another, as 
widely as the impassable gulf. 



206 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

An infidel of some little acquirements invited 
me to call and converse with him on the subject 
of Bible religion, which he promised to prove to 
me was nothing but a fable. While walking on 
my way to visit him, I meditated on the subject 
thus: "If jny antagonist has not the right kind 
of knowledge, and to a sufficient degree to define 
Bible religion accurately, then he does not know 
enough to keep up an intelligent conversation on 
the subject ; and if he does possess the right 
sort of knowledge to a sufficient degree to rightly 
define it, then controversy will not be needed at 
all." When I arrived, I found the infidel all 
" cut and dried," in his own opinion, for debate, 
and fully competent, like every other infidel, to 
prove Bible religion altogether a fable. I stated 
to him my sorrow that the cause I was about to 
endeavour to defend had not an abler advocate — ■ 
that I was but a young convert, and my side of 
the question would not be fairly represented. 
He acknowledged me to be capable of truly repre- 
senting the case. " But," said I, " would you be 
willing to hold a controversy with me if you 
knew I lacked ability to define accurately the 
position of both sides of the question — the af- 
firmative and the negative ? " No, indeed," he 
replied, " I would not be willing to waste time 
and words in controversy with a person who 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



201 



could not tell what he was endeavouring to sup- 
port, nor what he was essaying to oppose." 
" Very well, then," I remarked ; M that is a good 
rule, and I wish to profit by it in getting it to 
work both ways. Now, sir, I wish, before we 
advance any further, for you to define Bible re- 
ligion, by separating it from everything irrele- 
vant, so that nothing shall appear connected with 
it but what essentially belongs to it. And then, 
in your attack upon it, you will attempt to assail 
nothing but what is claimed by its Founder and 
its possessors to be of it; and I will have noth- 
ing to defend but what belongs to Christ." " De- 
fine it, sir !" said he; "do you w 7 ant me to define 
it ? Why, you believe it to be truth, and I be- 
lieve it, with equal evidence, to be a fable." 
a Then please," I continued, " to define the fable. 
Show the position it occupies, how it originated, 
what are its properties and parts, and how it is 
that you come to know more about this fable 
than those who profess, with plausibility, to ex- 
perience its power and practise its precepts." 
He showed signs of embarrassment. 

I could not prevail on him to define the fable ; 
and I remarked, before leaving him, " That a 
man to know sufficiently the religion of the Bible 
to define it, and still not to embrace it, he must 
be a knave ; and a man to be too ignorant to 



208 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



define it, and yet to have a disposition to oppose 
it, lie must be a fool. Infidelity is, therefore, a 
compound of knavery and folly. Christianity is 
a system opposed to it, and, therefore, is a glori- 
ous compound of truth and wisdom — the power 
of God, and the wisdom of God." 

The fallacy of every argument, and the futility 
of every objection against the Christian religion, 
illustrates the divinity of its truth. As the pleas- 
antness of light appears to better advantage when 
contrasted with the horrors of darkness, so does 
religion show the truth of its high claim when it 
is contrasted with the bad qualities of every op- 
position brought against it. 

On one pleasant moonlight evening, while 
walking from a place of public- worship, I was 
overtaken by a tall infidel, who gave evident 
signs that he wished to make a display of him- 
self in a controversy with me on the subject of 
that evening's sermon. He commenced an at- 
tack upon me by saying, " I do not believe the 
arguments I heard to-night, in support of what 
is called religion. I am, sir, what you denominate 
an infidel." "Indeed," I replied, " I am sorry to 
hear that. You are to be pitied, I assure you." 
"I do not wish to be pitied at all," said he. 
" Well, what do you believe religion to be then, 
since you so dislike the arguments you have been 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



209 



listening to ? V I inquired. He summed up the 
entire amount of his dignity, and said, in a de- 
cided tone : "It is an empty nothing, sir — a mere 
shadow and swelled with an extreme inflation 
of importance. " You have not been long hi 
possession of this vast secret of the shadowy 
emptiness and nothingness of Christianity," I re- 
plied, " have you ?" "0 yes, I have been an in- 
fidel for eight years." "I am sorry to hear it 
has been so long, for I would fain hope that you 
would learn better in future than to be an infidel," 
I continued. " But perhaps you have not offered 
active resistance to the Christian religion all the 
eight years past of your infidelity, have you ?" 
"Indeed," said he, "I have resisted it all that 
time, and mean to continue opposing it with 
all my might !" " What, a ' nothing ' and a 
'shadow' to be resisted! and you declare that 
you have done it," I remarked, " and mean still 
to continue fighting a shadow with your might, 
as you have done for eight years ! Truly you 
must be a wonderful man, capable of such 
things !" The long man, thus cut short, appear- 
ed almost too slim on that moonlight evening to 
make a shadow, notwithstanding his wonderful 
exploit confessed, of fighting with one for eight 
years. 

The religion of our Lord Jesus Christ, unlike 
14 



210 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



every other religion, rests upon facts, and prin- 
ciples, and power, such as carry evidence all-con- 
vincing to the mind and heart of every true be- 
liever. Like the sun in the firmament, its own 
light is its true revelation. Mathematical dem- 
onstrations to the man of science are not more 
convincing than are to the experimental Chris- 
tian the moral certainties of the gospel system, 
impressed on the heart by the Holy Ghost. 

A person — a magistrate of acknowledged abili- 
ties, and a gentleman in manners — once invited 
me to his house, his wife being a Methodist. He 
said he wished to converse with me on religion. 
The u 'squire," as he was styled, was an influen- 
tial sceptic; and although a moral man, and 
strictly temperate, yet many were influenced in a 
course of infidelity by him. I was warned by unbe- 
lievers to be very cautious how I entered into con- 
troversy with him, for he was powerful man in ar- 
gum ent. Being with this sceptic in his own house, 
he soon declared to me his great willingness to be 
under the power of conviction, at all times and 
on all subjects, to the truth. I then inquired of 
him why he did not believe the truth that sup- 
ports the Christian religion ? He replied : " Sir, 
I always love truth, and have enjoyed many con- 
versations with ministers of the gospel ; but I am 
not a credulous man. Christianity, although I 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



211 



respect many of its votaries, would tax my cre- 
dulity too much for my reason or common-sense." 
" Then, really," I replied, " does the 'squire think 
that all the Christian world are destitute of rea- 
son and common-sense? Does he believe that 
the Crucified Man, Jesus Christ, was never raised 
from the dead?" "Why, sir," said he, " Chris- 
tians may have reason and sense on other sub- 
jects, but on religion they are led by blind en- 
thusiasm ; and as to Christ being raised from the 
dead, I never have yet been credulous enough to 
believe it." "Then let me tell you, sir," I re- 
marked, " that I never in my life knew a more 
credulous man among Christians than you are. 
You, to be consistent, must admit that you be- 
lieve that a certain lie — unlike all other lies — has 
been spoken and taken for truth, under the most 
astonishing circumstances, for thousands of years, 
— by prophecies, types, and miracles, — preparing 
the minds of the learned and the good for an event 
that was to take place in the time predicted. 
That event was the resurrection of Christ. This 
great lie, under such awful circumstances, you 
are forced to believe, produced more wonderful 
effects, on the millions looking for it, than all the 
facts of science combined. That about fifty days 
after this conjectured-actual-reality had taken 
place, three thousand in one day, by the direct 



212 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



influence of the alleged fact upon them — although, 
as you believe, a lie — met with such a change as 
in its effects to agitate the most enlightened 
portions of the then known world, and to be 
matter of history through every age since. That 
the Church of Jesus Christ, by power connected 
with it, lias been preserved, strengthened, and 
increased. That thousands and millions of bright 
monuments of intellect, and the best moral char- 
acters in all ages, have declared their indebted- 
ness to this lie for all their excellence. That in- 
fidelity, in every age, with all its labour and skill, 
lias not been able to put down this lie, unarmed 
as it is with sword of steel or secular power. 
And that the force of this lie is more powerful, 
in the present day, to do good among men, than 
any truth in the vast volume of nature. That, 
by believing it to be true, men of every grade of 
wickedness are brought under renovating power, 
and are manifestly reformed. And your own ex- 
cellent wife, in the purity of her heart, testifies 
of its most salutary effects in the comfort it gives 
her. All this you are bound, by the position you 
have assumed, to believe. And more than this, 
that also these great and good men and women, 
who testify to the resurrection of Jesus, and its . 
power upon them, do not know as much of them- 
selves as you do of them. You not a credulous 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED, 



213 



man ! To believe that you are not a credulous 
man is indeed the very climax of credulity." 
The 'squire was evidently confused, as he turned 
round in his chair, and said, " Well, for my part, 
I am willing that every one should enjoy his own 
opinions." 

The things in divine revelation most important 
in their connexion with human salvation, are 
generally within the reach of the testing power 
of experience : an experiment may be made to 
know them. 

I called once to see and converse with an ingeni- 
ous mechanic, who has since become quite noted 
for useful patented inventions, and who was then a 
sceptic. I said to him : " William, you are an in- 
genious person, and fond of making experiments 
in chemistry and other branches of science ; now, 
will you not be willing to make one experiment 
in reference to that religion you deem a fable ? 
If it should be true, of course you should wish to 
know it; if it is but a fable, you cannot be in- 
jured by the experiment, as it will be attended 
with no great sacrifice nor expense." He re- 
plied, " What do you wish me to do, in order to 
make an experiment upon such a mysterious sub- 
ject?" "I wish you to go into your closet 
every evening of the present week, commencing 
with this, (Monday,) and kneel down and repeat 



214 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

on your knees the Lord's prayer ; and I will call 
again and see you on Saturday night." He 
replied, "I think I will;" and I left him. On 
Saturday evening, I found him sitting bent for- 
ward, with his face resting upon his hand, in a 
thoughtful mood. "Well, William, have you 
made the experiment agreed upon f He replied, 
after a sigh and a pause, 4 4 1 have ; and I am at 
a loss to account for the operation of my own 
mind. On Monday evening, about sunset, I as- 
cended the steps leading to my bedroom, and 
kneeled with no kind of seriousness; I recited 
the prayer, and laughed at myself. On Tuesday 
evening, while going to my retirement, I was 
affected in a more serious manner; my frame 
trembled, and I felt a weakness in my knees. 
On Wednesday evening, while on my knees, the 
power of speech seemed to be withdrawn. On 
Thursday evening, and that of Friday, I had to 
drag myself to the place where I promised you 
I would repeat the Lord's prayer. This evening 
I was longer on my knees than on the former 
evenings ; and now I give it as my deliberate 
conviction that man never originated that form 
of prayer. I believe it is from God, and that the 
Bible contains a divine religion. What I may 
be hereafter I know not. My peace is now dis- 
turbed, and I would like to be right," 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED, 



215 



I gave him the best advice in my power. 
His infidelity, from this experiment, received a 
blow from which it never recovered. Two years 
afterward he received justifying faith, and joined 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he 
continues a member until the present time. 



216 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



CHAPTER XL 

INCIDENTS AND REFLECTIONS. 

O, gentlemen, the time of life is short ! 

To spend that shortness basely, were too long, 

If life did ride upon a dial's point, 

Still ending at the arrival of an hour. — Shakspeare. 

The finite and the infinite must forever be 
separated from each other by a necessary and 
immeasurable distance. With God there can be 
no accident, chance, nor contingency, because he 
is infinite in all his attributes; with man there 
is chance, with accidents and contingencies, be- 
cause of his limited comprehension. With God 
nothing happens or takes place without intelligent 
causes and agencies ; with man the effects of 
such agencies may appear, and often do, but 
they are not always traced to their causes. All 
things that are really good in character are 
brought about by divine agency; all evils, by 
agencies and instrumentalities evil and infernal, 
and suffered by the Supreme to come to pass. 
Severities and judgments have been often en- 
dured by persons who looked upon them as 
unavoidable, when their own conduct was the 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



217 



cause, meriting severe discipline; and it is pos- 
sible that perhaps not one in ten of all those who 
die at mature age, but might live longer, were 
the laws of life, in their persons, and the law of 
God, especially, more carefully obeyed by them. 
Nothing is more absurd than what is heard so 
often from the lips of good persons, when one 
dies: "It was to be so." From proper con- 
siderations on this subject, how much is man the 
maker of his own destiny. 

Too much care cannot be taken by parents 
to have pure truth instilled into the minds of 
their children. When I w r as quite a child, a 
near neighbour met with an accident, from the 
effects of which he died. It was in warm 
weather, and before he was buried he turned 
black. A stranger met me shortly after his 
death, on the road near the graveyard where he 
was buried. He accosted me with, "My child, 
do you know whose grave that newly made one 
is?" I told him I did. lie proceeded: "Did 
you see him after he was dead ?" I answered in 
the affirmative. "Did he turn black after he 
died?" "Yes, sir," I replied. "Then he has 
certainly gone to hell — that is a sure sign." 

It was some time before this superstitious 
notion was eradicated from my mind. I thought 
of the remark of the stranger every time I heard 



218 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

of a death in the neighbourhood. Thus, also, 
I never knew a strong predestinarian, who Lad 
become such by conversion to God, but who had 
Calvinism instilled into his mind while a child. 
An elegant writer has therefore truly said, that 
"Childhood is like a mirror, catching and re- 
flecting images from all around it. Remember, 
that an impious or profane thought, uttered by 
a parent's lip, may operate upon the young heart 
like a careless spray of water thrown upon pol- 
lished steel, staining it with rust which no after 
scouring can efface." 

One day when but a child at school, taught by 
my father, during the noon recess, to test my dex- 
terity, I endeavoured to throw a stone, for me 
quite heavy, over a large tree of spreading boughs. 
The stone, in falling on the opposite side, struck 
a woman on the head, stunning her with the blow. 
Complaint was entered against the unknown 
offender to my father. I soon found that I was 
not suspected, and could have eluded discovery 
while others were blamed. I went forward and 
cleared the suspected ones by confessing my fault. 
I said, " I would rather be punished myself than 
see the blame resting on one who is innocent." 
This so pleased my father that I had loved honesty 
and truth even at the sacrifice of exposure to pun- 
ishment, that he would not chastise me, but often 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



219 



after spoke of my love of truth. Now I believe 
this little incident had such a salutary effect upon 
my whole life, that I am much indebted to my 
father's high estimate, timely expressed, of this 
moral quality, for what of it I have possessed. 

A young man, a clerk, well known to me, 
who was fond of novel reading and theatrical 
amusements, was found guilty, at a certain time, 
of abstracting money from the drawer of his 
wealthy employer in a dishonest manner. This 
act in the young man produced great astonish- 
ment among his acquaintances, by whom he was 
highly esteemed. In searching his person a slip 
of paper was found on him, with this pernicious 
sentiment written on it, in his own hand : " He 
that being robbed, not wanting what is stolen, 
let him not know it, and he is not robbed at all." 
This dramatic sentiment had been cherished by 
him till his heart was prepared to reduce it to 
practice. " Can a man take live coals into his 
bosom and his clothes not be burned ?" 

When I was but a child of four or five years, 
being with my father at a neighbouring farmer's 
house, about a mile from home, in playing about 
the door-yard, I took lip a small hammer to 
play with, thinking, I suppose, that I had found 
it. When on our way, to within a few hundred 
yards from home, my father discovered the neigh- 



220 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



hour's hammer in my hand. He turned, and 
said to me : " Now, my son, you have done very 

wrong in taking Mr. H 's hammer. Come 

back again with me immediately, and return that 
property, you have taken without liberty, to its 
owner." He walked with me all the way back, 
and made me apologize to the neighbour for 
taking his hammer. The neighbour thought my 
father took too much pains about so small a mat- 
ter; but how much benefit this "little matter" 
has brought to me, throughout my whole life, is 
known only to God. My father, also, repeatedly 
told me that gambling was a species of dishonesty, 
and for that reason, mainly, I have never prac- 
tised it in my life. 

The most important period to commence 
forming the moral character is in pliable and 
tender youth, before the disposition becomes rigid 
and set. The heart is depraved, and it is natural 
for it to form an evil bias early. 

I could now name five or six persons, who 
were young men with me, all apparently of much 
better constitutions — young men of vigorous in- 
tellects, of opportunities and acquirements, of 
respectable parentage — now filling drunkards' 
graves. Why ? They cherished and gave way 
to mirthful amusements ; they were fond of per- 
forming in theatrical exhibitions, which led to 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



221 



dissipation ; and by degrees they were led along 
to ruin, through the increase of the appetite, un- 
til they fell a prey to the destroyer. They were 
often told that this would be the fatal issue of 
their course, but they would not believe it. 

" Great men are not always wise, neither do 
the aged always understand judgment." This 
was illustrated to me once, when I visited an old 
friend, an infidel, with an intention to do him 
good. I related to him my conversion, and de- 
sired him to seek religion. I told him I was 
much more contented than when I used to go 
with him to the meetings of the infidels. He 
flew into a passion at once and said, " You lie ! 
you are not happy ! You are the worst person 
in the place, going about making people discon- 
tented. Go out of my house, I say ; I am happy 
enough." At this juncture his little daughter 
came up-stairs, saying, " Father, you are not con- 
tented, for you are complaining all the while." 
In leaving this man, I said, " Sir, in going away, 
I cannot take with me your reflections." 

A rich but decrepit old man, tottering on the 
brink of the grave, was once in my hearing 
praising the present world. He said : " Some 
people are always speaking in low terms of the 
present world, calling it empty and vain, and that 
it is not worth living for ; but I do not find it so. 



222 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

I like it better than the world to come ; for I have 
not seen that world, nor any one that has ever 
been there. Give me this world, and the next 
may go for what it will fetch ; for my motto on 
this subject is, ' A bird in the hand is worth two 
in the bush.' " I turned to the old and infirm gen- 
tleman, and said : 1 1 am sorry, sir, to hear you 
talk in such a manner. Your known capacity, 
position, and age, should give us a warrant of 
better things. You are an old man, and cannot, 
according to the course of nature, remain long in 
this world. You will soon be forced to let go 
your hold upon it." He replied, " I care not for 
your world to come ! I say, give me the present, 
and I am satisfied." Now all that I could do, 
by way of truthful remark, could have no weight 
on the mind of that infirm old man. The tran- 
sient nature of the things of time, and the proba- 
bilities of the near approach to eternity, were 
apparently beyond the reach of that mind, 
"blinded by the god of this world." In a few 
brief months that old, worldly, and unprepared 
man was numbered with the dead, and his spirit 
in eternity. 

Who can compute the difference between such 
a life as the one above alluded to, and a short 
life of genuine piety to God ? The most length- 
ened life, encircled by the brightest visions of the 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



223 



present world, without religion, will not compare 
with a life devoted to God, though of short dura- 
tion on earth. Such a life is destined to reap a 
harvest in excellence, far transcending all created 
things. Yea, let this poor life be filled with 
temptation, adversity, sorrow, and sickness — 
short life of faith, of tears, of suffering — is it not 
rich in every ennobling quality, cultivated during 
the appropriate season of the " early and the lat- 
ter rain," for the soul's eternal use ? 

I sat down once beside a man of intemperate 
habits, beneath an elm-tree, in order to endeavour 
to prevail on him to break off from the thraldom 
of rum, and by radical reformation become a 
man. He w r as not under the influence of liquor 
at the time, and he wept, while hope in him ap- 
peared struggling with despair. His despond- 
ency seemed to come most from the fact that 
his character was gone, and there was a general 
want of sympathy for him. Poor man ! many 
like him have perished for the want of just that 
kind of sympathy which Christians are privileged 
to exercise. 

A very short time after the above interview 
with the poor drunkard, I was walking near the 
same place, when suddenly I beheld the smoke, 
a short distance off, issuing rapidly from an old 
barn on fire. I hastened to the scene of confla- 



224 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

gration, and among the falling timbers the burn- 
ed remains of a human body fell down, with 
boots, hat, and clothes, in a state sufficient to af- 
ford a recognition of the same man I had con- 
versed with under the elm-tree. It was supposed 
he had lain down in the hay in a drunken state, 
with a pipe in his mouth, or matches in his 
pocket. 

That man was once respected. Had he even 
a thought, when just commencing his downward 
career, that his life would end as it did ? And 
many now following a like course will end, doubt- 
less, in a similar manner, who would feel highly 
insulted if their probable end should barely be 
suggested to them. 

A person far advanced in the downward course 
of dissipation was once the subject of my anxious 
solicitude and prayers for a long time. At last 
he was, to all human appearance, converted. He 
lived in the apparent enjoyment of religion for 
about four months. While praying for him I 
was suddenly impressed — whether through super- 
natural agency or not, I cannot tell — with the 
gloomy thought that he had again fallen before 
the power of his former enemy. The next day I 
found that my apprehension concerning him was 
not ill-grounded. His old appetite had resumed 
its former strength, and he had yielded to its 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



225 



direful sway. I expostulated with hi in, and pray- 
ed for him for a time, but all to no purpose. I 
dreamed a dream concerning him, after which I 
had no more anxiety to pray for him. 

How many I have known struggling for a while 
with their convictions, then, amid the horrors of 
despair, sink into the grave unpardoned, and con- 
sequently unprepared. Such scenes occur every 
year, I know, all over our sin-stricken, yet gospel- 
visited land ; but there is a general reluctance 
to take much notice of them, and thus their fre- 
quency is often increased by covering them up, 
and not allowing them to have that place of 
warning among us which God designs they 
should have. 

One evening at a protracted-meeting, standing 
in the altar, I remarked, previous to engaging in 
prayer, u that I had the witness within, that Jesus 
Christ, who was once dead, was alive; that I 
knew this fact, that Jesus was alive, by certain 
effects produced that could have no existence 
were he not alive." As I made this remark, an 
infidel in the congregation replied, " That is a 
lie, for no man can know that An officer of 
the peace was about to remove him from the 
church for improper conduct, but I succeeded in 
getting consent to let him remain, stating that it 
was my belief that God would afford us evidence 
15 



226 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



of the life of his Son by the conversion of souls. 
That evening there were five souls converted ! In 
two or three months after that night, the infidel 
died, in the most wretched state of mind, saying 
that the devil had come for him. I give this 
from good authority. 

From the foregoing incidents should we not 
take warning, that we may not finally be found 
among the company of those who " forget God " 
in the present life? To serve God faithfully in 
spirit and in truth, is no trifle. Our chief delight 
must be in God, and the lessons that are to bring 
us to this desired point, are to be learned in the 
present life, or never. Without zeal and care in 
the pursuit of this delight in God, there must in- 
evitably be a desolating waste of all that can possi- 
bly make life valuable. Should we not place a due 
estimate upon the understanding and the affections, 
as well as upon eating, breathing, and sleeping ? 
We have powers of thought, and feelings, which 
must exist. Real living to man is more than the 
mere operations of animal vitality, with its organ- 
ism, performing its involuntary functions ; and 
it is more than the necessary movement of the 
immortal principle through the periods of meas- 
ured duration. There is a field of ripe harvest 
beyond the bound of time, for every human indi- 
vidual, toward which he is now tending. This 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTED. 



227 



ripe state will be where fruit will be reaped of 
seed sown while here — a state of " corruption " 
from sowing to " the flesh," or a state of " life- 
everlasting " from sowing to " the Spirit." 

What then, in reality, is an unregenerate life 
worth ? View it as lengthened out to its utmost, 
to even a hundred years. There it is, in prospec- 
tive. Look at it. Like a flying railroad train, it 
will soon be retrospective. It is gone ! The " abyss 
hath swallowed up its form." The posts along 
the route of sinful pleasures, worldly honours, 
and perishable riches, are passed. What signi- 
fies all the boasted length, strength, health, and 
accomplishments of such a life, when death has 
put a period to it ? And what will be the probable 
results of such a life in the future world ? Will 
not appetites of unregenerate nature remain the 
same after death ? Will not the miser still desire 
his gold? And will not the drunkard and the 
glutton still wish to satiate their craving appe- 
tites, as they had done while on earth ? And 
will not infamous w 7 retches desire again their 
"vile bodies," -which they had here prostituted to 
lust and abomination, in order to have repeated 
their wanton pleasures ? And will not all these 
desires, to say the least, be forever ungratified ? 

The human powers of thought, in connexion 
with the principle of immortality within, give an 



228 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

importance to man in the scale of existence, much 
overlooked in our hurry after trifles. From want 
of proper attention here, many have wandered 
over prairies of imagination set on fire by the 
enemy, until involved beyond recovery. Many 
a frail bark, in early life, has been launched upon 
an ocean of doubt and uncertainty, with all the 
evil propensities of human nature on board, with 
no acknowledged guide to point out unseen dan- 
gers, until it has finally foundered, and been lost 
amid the fury of warring winds and waves. 

It was for the sole purpose of drawing out into 
saving activity the energies of the soul, that gos- 
pel truth was revealed. In this gospel we can 
see what laws God would be pleased to have 
regulate the thinking powers, by what in it is 
unfolded. In it three worlds are brought to 
view. A heaven of ministering and " desiring 
angels ;" a hell of malicious and " ugly devils ;" 
and the world of human beings, suspended be- 
tween the two, with its checkered scenes of light 
and shade. Man in this earthly abode is not at 
home, but a pilgrim. From this abode he must 
soon " rise and depart, for this is not his rest." 
He must go either to heaven or to hell after his 
probation is ended. And this will be according 
to his conduct in choosing here what stamp of 
moral character he shall have upon him impress- 



BIBLE TRUTH TESTE IK 



229 



ed. To live, then, in view of such solemn con- 
siderations, without a desire for a right train of 
thought to be set agoing within us by revelation 
and divine grace, is as deliberate .folly as one 
would be. thought guilty of who should lie down 
on a magazine of gun-powder exposed to con- 
tinually emitted sparks of fire. God has poured 
out upon man his own mind, and withheld from 
him no good thing, in order that he might have 
thought purified at the fountain, and feelings that 
would be a continual feast. But how is the 
stream of holy inspiration avoided, and " broken 
cisterns that will hold no water " sought ! God 
is good, but man is ungrateful. 

Suppose a company of men and women to go on a 
voyage. Bidding adieu to friends, they soon, leav- 
ing the view of the receding shores, are far away 
from home. In a distant sea an island is descried. 
Without liberty from the captain the company 
leave the ship and go to the island. This island 
they find not to agree w T ith their anticipations, 
but infested with loathsome vermin, reptiles, and 
wild beasts, and affording them no supply of 
wholesome food, nor shelter from the stormy blast. 
And here, after living in sickness r suffering, and 
degradation, for a time, in caves and dens, they 
see a vessel from their native country bearing a 
message of suitable mercy to them ; . and they 



230 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



are invited to join again their long left friends in 
the bright and joyous circles of affection ; to be 
freed from all their troubles, and to be made 
completely happy, on the bare condition of vol- 
untary acceptance ; what base ingratitude would 
it be in them to spurn such a kind offer of relief ! 
But, if added to such ingratitude, they should 
make combined and continued efforts to sink the 
vessel and destroy all on board — what then ? 

A vessel of mercy has come to self-exiled man 
from his " Friend " in the spirit-land. " The 
Captain of our salvation " is on board that vessel, 
calling sinners, saying, " Come unto me, all ye 
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give 
you rest." But the sinking island of desolation 
is preferred by many to a voyage to the " better 
land" with Jesus in the ship, who will safely 
guide it with its passengers to the immortal shore 
of blessedness ! O sinner, come, for 

" There all the ship's company meet, 
"Who saird with the Saviour beneath." 



INCIDENTS OF ITINERANCY. 



i 

231 



CHAPTER XII. 

FRAGMENTS GATHERED UP IN THE ITINERANCY. 

Lament who will, in fruitless tears, 

The speed with which our moments fly ; 

I sigh not over vanish 'd years, 

But watch the years that hasten "by. — Bryant. 

Facts observed in common life, as we pass along 
through it, may in a measure be forgotten while 
travelling to the grave, but after travelling from 
it, will doubtless revive in the memory with all 
the clearness and distinctness of first perceptions. 
Like the writings in "invisible ink," transpired 
events, passing the fires of the judgment, will 
come out in immortal memory, to be seen and 
read of all, no more to be forgotten. A timely 
and proper observance of such facts is of impor- 
tance. It leads to a true knowledge of the past, 
which aids materially in imparting ability to right- 
ly estimate the present; and such valuation of 
present things, with our lives floating on the 
stream of moments, gives strength and clearness 
of vision to penetrate deeper into the future. 
Such knowledge so derived has more of the qual- 
ity of reality, and is safer in the results to which 



232 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL, 

it leads, than the unexperimenial theories so much 
sought out and followed by modern "filthy 
dreamers," who look for improvements and re- 
finements in the system of old-fashioned revealed 
truth, so well sustained by facts which have been 
observed in all past ages. 

The annual session of the New- Jersey Confer- 
ence, in the spring of 1841, was held in Newark, 
when I was received by that body on trial as a 
travelling preacher. My first appointment was 
to Rome and Wantage Circuit, with Rev. John 
N. Crane for my colleague, a man of prudence, 
precision, and careful deportment. The place 
fixed upon as my residence was near the northern 
part of the circuit, in Minisink, Orange County, 
New- York, about sixty miles from Newark, New- 
Jersey. To be prepared f6r moving to my new 
field of labour required more money than I then 
had at my command. Of this I said nothing, 
but looked in faith with prayer to God for aid. 
I was much strengthened in my faith at the- closing- 
meeting of the session for the reading out of the 
appointments. Bishop Hedding presided, and 
having given (according to request) his clear 
views of Christian perfection in an extempore ad- 
dress, an afternoon previous, he now made but few, 
yet very appropriate remarks, and called on the 
late Rev. James Moore to speak some words of 



INCIDENTS OF ITINERANCY. 



233 



comfort to those who were about to separate soon, 
and "go forth weeping, bearing precious seed." 
Father Moore's remarks can never be forgotten 
by those who heard him at that time. He re- 
quested us, if any of us should go before him to 
heaven, to give " his respects " to Father Abraham 
and to Paul. It was the last time I ever saw that 
eminently pious minister of Christ, whose memory 
is so embalmed in the hearts of many Methodist 
families that he often visited in this State. 

It was soon noised abroad among my friends 
that I was going to move away and become a 
travelling preacher. Articles and money to the 
extent of variety and amount needed, soon were 
given to me, under the direction of all pervading 
Providence. One friend gave me a saddle and 
bridle, which I did without, and lent out until 
they were worn out. A Presbyterian brother 
made me a present of a time-piece, that I might 
" watch " while remembering him in my prayers. 
Money I received, varying in sums from one to 
five dollars, till it reached, in the aggregate, about 
sixty dollars. The liberality on the occasion 
showed me how, when grace calls the gospel 
preacher to take the sword of action, Providence 
opens a way that leads to the proper field of 
action. 

All prepared, " packed up," and ready, we left, 



234 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

and arrived at our parsonage on Saturday after- 
noon. After unboxing our goods and arranging 
the furniture, night began to set in. Some sticks 
were picked up to have on hand to burn on the 
coming Sabbath. We sat down, and though at 
home, were weary, and among strangers. I said 
to my wife, "Mary, put on the tea-kettle, and let 
us have something to eat." She replied, " Why, 
we have no bread, butter, nor flour in the house, 
and the rain has prevented our getting any the 
whole afternoon." It was then muddy, raining, 
and dark — where could I go, among strangers, 
for bread, at such an hour ? True, fasting for a 
while would not have been attended with serious 
injury, but I could not see special need of it then, 
I felt that the Lord knew all about us, and it was 
interesting to me to see what provision Providence 
would make in so small a matter. I persisted in 
having the kettle hung over the fire, and with 
patience waited for supper. My wife would not 
light a candle, because its light would reveal to 
me tears, which she desired to conceal. The 
door stood partly open, and the night was pitchy 
dark. While looking out I saw suddenly, upon 
that cloudy back-ground, the outlines of a human 
form — a man bearing in his hands a loaf of 
bread and a roll of butter. He silently deposited 
his burden on the table and departed. None of 



INCIDENTS OF ITINERANCY. 



235 



the family saw " the sight " but myself. It was 
something that satisfied an inspired expectation, 
built on no earthly reason. I turned again to 
Mary, and reminded her of the needed supper. 
The tea-kettle singing over a blazing fire, we 
could in cheerfulness repeat the chorus, — 

" The cricket cherups on the hearth, 
The crackling fagot flies," 

A candle is lighted, and tears of joy at the pro- 
vision of Providence flow faster than those which 
had fallen through unbelief, The table is spread, 
and we sit down to supper. A blessing in grati- 
tude is asked, and the hungry are filled. The 
family altar is erected, and the sacrifice is accept- 
ed ; and the first night's rest in the parsonage is 
sweet, from the experience of divine influence. 

In much kindness I was received by the people 
on the circuit, and I laboured in harmony with 
my colleague the first year of my itinerancy. I 
travelled on foot to my appointments, to the im- 
provement of my bodily health, and have never 
yet had it to say, with King Richard the Third, 
u My kingdom for a horse." 

Taking a wrong impression from well-intended 
advice, not to make any special effort at grand 
preaching, I commenced my pulpit labours without 
proper preparation. This was an error ; and one 



236 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL, 



class-leader expressed his fear to his brethren, 
" that there was death in the pot." A few of the 
official brethren consulted together on the pro- 
priety of advising me to go home. But this state 
of things did not long continue. With some 
study, prayer, and a spiritual baptism, I improved 
in preaching; and, thank the Lord, death was 
not found in the pot, neither was I sent home. 

The fear of gratifying a vain curiosity in the 
hearers of the " new preacher," led me into an 
extreme which should have been avoided. I am 
yet however of opinion, that the " new preacher " 
does not act wisely, when he fires off, in his first 
sermon on his charge, a "big gun" — borrowed, 
alas ! it may be — -which is (of necessity) to be fol- 
lowed by a continual discharge of small arms, 
loaded often with blank cartridges. 

Conversions followed our labours in our differ- 
ent appointments. During a revival in the Rome 
appointment, a young lady in love-feast, relating 
her experience, said that her conversion had re- 
sulted from what had been spoken to her by my 
colleague and myself, during a pastoral visit in 
her father's family. After prayer, Mr. Crane had 
taken her by the hand, and said, "Give your 
heart to the Lord while young." I had followed 
him, she said, and remarked, "If you don't re- 
pent, you'll go to hell." This warning and ex- 



INCIDENTS OF ITINERANCY. 



237 



postulation had sounded in her ears night and 
day, until she at the altar for prayer found peace 
in believing. 

On a charge across the Delaware there was a 
revival of religion in progress. I was sent for, 
and went over to help in labours of love. I had 
been there and preached, a few weeks before, and 
related my religious experience, which had left a 
desire among them to hear me again. A young 
lady, I was informed, had felt considerable anxi- 
ety on the subject of religion from hearing my 
experience; and, according to a request of the 
preacher in charge, I accompanied him in a visit to 
her. She was sweeping the floor at the time of 
our arrival, and I commenced conversation with 
her something after the following manner : " Sis- 
ter, please just put up your broom for a few 
minutes, in order that I may ask you some serious 
questions." She complied. I continued : " Do 
you sincerely desire to enjoy religion V ' "Yes, 
I think I do." " Then please answer my inquiries 
as I shall make them. Do you love your moth- 
er ?" " Certainly I do." " No doubt of it ; but 
you can see your mother. Would the knowl- 
edge of such love be clear if your mother were 
unseen ? Do you love the name and character 
of General Washington, knowing the good he 
has rendered our country ?" " I do venerate 



238 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

that name," was her reply. "But now let me 
ask you a more difficult, and still more import- 
ant question : Do you love the name_ of Jesus 
half as much as you do that of Washington, or 
your mother?" She answered with increasing 
emotion, 44 1 do love him more, much more, than 
any other being ! O, I do love him ! and I feel — 
O yes, I do feel that he does love me, and blesses 
me now I" She sobbed aloud, and continued : 
" My sins are all forgiven, and I am happy ! O 
he blesses my soul noiv — now/ 11 She clasped 
her mother round her neck, and said, " O, my 
dear mother, the Lord has converted my soul 
this morning !" and there was great joy in that 
house. 

In the spring of 1842 our conference met in 
the city of Camden, and I was returned to Rome 
and Wantage Circuit, with the late Rev. R. Launing 
for my colleague, as preacher in charge. I found 
in my new colleague a deeply pious man, and a 
good preacher. His views of the atonement 
were of a character most sound and clear. On 
this glorious doctrine he dwelt much in his 
preaching and meditations. He gloried in the 
cross. He often told me weeping, in our re- 
tirement from the world, that he did not expect 
to live long. " But, my dear brother Scarlett," 
he would say, " I know that my Redeemer liveth, 



INCIDENTS 



OS 



ITINERANCY. 



239 



and that — faithful to the end — I shall wear a 
crown in his presence forever !' ? 

We were favoured this year, also, with an 
outpouring of the Spirit on the circuit. At 
Mount Zion, or Finch ville, we had a gracious 
turning to the Lord. One Sabbath afternoon, 
while riding with a friend in his sleigh to this 
appointment, after a considerable fall of rain, a 
trace happened to break just as we met a noted 
infidel riding on horseback. The infidel dis- 
mounted, and, taking an eel-skin from his pocket, 
said, a Boys, I see you want help," and supplied 
a link in the broken trace. I thanked him, 
and told him he should be remembered in my 
prayers. He replied that he did not stand in 
need of prayers, as he always carried fixtures 
enough with him for all that he needed. We 
had just passed over a slough, enlarged by the 
recent rain, and frozen over. Our sceptical friend, 
so independent of need, had remounted, and 
ridden not over fifty yards, when the ice broke in 
under his horse, letting him down into a cold 
bath, up to the necks of both man and bea§t. 
While struggling in his difficulty, amid the broken 
ice around him, I reminded him of his need of 
help from something more efficacious than his 
fixtures. His chilling example before he was ex- 
tricated, on that cold winter day, afforded another 



240 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



specimen of the eel-shins of infidelity's trust, and 
the opportunity for another anecdote to illustrate 
some point in my afternoon sermon, showing the 
cold and sinking condition of infidels. 

During this year a friend endeavoured to bribe 
me ; he did not succeed, of course. My school- 
bill, to the amount of several dollars, had been 
paid by some one desirous of keeping it concealed. 
Suspicion rested on a man who had done such 
things sometimes to the poor. I went to him 
and inquired whether he had paid the bill, for 
he was suspected. He looked at me awhile with 
affected innocence, and then gave me ten dollars, 
saying, " Please take this, and say nothing more 
about the school-bill." I took the money from the 
hand of the late S. M. Stoddard, Esq., without 
a promise on my part to conceal the bribery; 
and so here it is made known for an example to 
others. 

In 1843 our conference met at New-Bruns- 
wick, and I was elected to deacon's orders, and 
ordained by Bishop Morris, on the 30th of April, 
my fortieth birthday. I received my appoint- 
ment to Stanhope Circuit, to travel alone, without 
a colleague or a horse. 

During this year there was a good work of 
grace manifested in a number of conversions in a 
revival at Eoseville, one of my appointments on 



INCIDENTS OF ITINERANCY. 



241 



the circuit. At this revival a young lady pro- 
fessed conversion, and shortly afterward, in her 
father's house, in an upper chamber, hung her- 
self ! The cause of this melancholy affair could 
not be ascertained. It is a very dangerous thing 
to throw impediments in the way of young con- 
verts, or to offer hinderances to them in their 
uniting with the Church of their choice. 

The house of worship at Stanhope was erected 
this year, and was dedicated by Rev. William 
Roberts, (now missionary superintendent in Ore- 
gon,) accompanied by the late Rev. L. T. Maps. 
While on this circuit I sometimes travelled on 
foot twenty-one miles on a Sabbath, and preach- 
ed three times. This was too much — but what 
could I do, without a horse, without the means 
to procure one, or the desire to have one ? 

A generous canal-man, with a horse whose 
large and heavy feet carried his legs along with 
a kind of pendulum swing, offered one Sabbath 
evening to take me to my appointment, about 
three miles off. The horse moved slowly, and I 
said to his master, " Jim, we'll not be in time 
at this rate." He replied, "The horse is not 
ivarm yet — he '11 go it, I tell you, when he gets 
warm !" The horse travelled on with increased 
speed, sure enough, until within about three hun- 
dred yards of the stopping-place, and then Jim 
16 



242 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



began to hold in with all his might. I said, 
" Why, we are not yet at the schoolhouse, Jim." 
But Jim replied, "I know it, but the horse is 
warm now, and will go /" And true enough his 
heavy legs kept swinging on until we were past 
the place fifty yards before stopping. I have 
thought of this horse while listening to preachers, 
who, too cold at first, and then too warm, go 
too far before they stop in their sermons. 

In 1844 the conference held its session in the 
city of Trenton. I was returned to Stanhope 
Circuit, with brother Samuel D. Lougheed for my 
colleague. I had become acquainted with him at 
his father's house, on Rome and Wantage Circuit, 
where I had often stopped, and found the warm- 
est reception and kindest hospitality. The father 
of my colleague is a local preacher of great ac- 
ceptability, and much beloved. I found in the 
young man, as I had expected, a pious, studious, 
laborious, and successful preacher of the gospel, 
and we enjoyed together many happy seasons in 
our united endeavours and prayers to bring sin- 
ners to Christ. 

During the winter of that year we held a series 
of meetings in a schoolhouse, where preaching 
the gospel was to them " a new thing under the 
sun." One evening a man came to meeting car- 
rying with him an ash stick, intending to work 



INCIDENTS OF ITINERANCY. 



243 



at splint-broom making, while bearing the word. 
He discontinued this business when requested. 
About a dozen of those hard-working people were 
converted during our meetings. One evening I 
was invited home with a man whose occupation 
was iron making, with the use of charcoal amid 
its dust. I found, after supper and prayer, that 
the smallness of the house made it necessary for 
me to take up my lodgings with the husband in 
the main-room. The family having retired, I 
went to bed also, when the husband went to the 
door, having piled a huge quantity of wood on 
the fire, and whistled. A dog of the largest size 
made his appearance in the room. He whistled 
again — another dog, equal in size, came in. The 
man of dogs and coal-dust was soon in the bed 
with me, and I lay far front to avoid a too close 
proximity. The fire, for a while, burned in do- 
mestic cheerfulness. The dogs, alternately, went 
through performances with their paws, like play- 
ing on Jews-harps ! They yawned, as the crack- 
ling of the falling brands declared the lessening 
of the fire's influence upon them. The wintry 
wind howled as it sprinkled the driving snow over 
my bed. My companion snored his hours away 
in refreshing sleep, proving that the rest of the 
labouring man is sweet. Toward day I fell asleep, 
and dreamed that I was hurt in the face, and 



244 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

that my wife was bathing it with a warm wet 
cloth. I waked up and found that the dogs had 
been giving me a licking, and I had the face to 
declare it! 

In 1845 our conference was held in Mount 
Holly. Here I was elected to elder's orders, and 
was ordained at Pemberton by Bishop Janes. I 
was appointed at this conference to Belvidere 
charge. 

A good parsonage in Belvidere added much to 
our convenience and comfort, and the people 
were most kind and sociable. Belvidere has 
many attractions, from scenery, flowers, birds, 
and the taste of its inhabitants. I was happy in 
my labours in this delightful spot, and rejoiced 
in fruits and prospects. The church, however, 
was in the wrong place — a short distance out of 
town. It has been recently pulled down, and a 
superior one put up in the right place. 

In the spring of 1346, conference was held in 
Newark. During this session I had an oppor- 
tunity of taking by the hand many old acquaint- 
ances. Many had become converted to God since 
I had left the place. It affected me to see some 
who had been dissolute in their lives, now on 
their way to heaven. 

I was returned to Belvidere, and the second 
year was as agreeable to me as the first. Our 



INCIDENTS OF ITINERANCY. 



245 



Sabbath sunrise prayer-meetings were precious 
seasons, and I have often wished that such meet- 
ings might become general throughout the whole 
Church. Our Sabbath-school exercises it is pleas- 
ing still to remember. 

While aiding a preacher on a neighbouring 
circuit in an extra meeting, an infidel came out 
to hear me, and became angry, declaring that I 
was as bad as the rest of Methodist preachers ! — 
that none of them preached anything but Jesus 
Christ. "With them," he said, "it is Jesus 
Christ here, and Jesus Christ there, and Jesus 
Christ altogether, and all the time." I hope, 
that notwithstanding the bad motive that 
prompted the charge, it may never be a false 
one ! 

In 1847 the session of our conference was 
held in Salem. Here I heard for the first time, 
and also the last, the late Rev. Dr. N..Levings 
preach a sermon. It was to my mind and heart 
a feast of fat things ; and it was so regarded by 
the brethren. I was here shown the spot where 
the bones of the noted Benjamin Abbott repose, 
a name so dear in the annals of early Methodism 
in New-Jersey. 

I received this year my appointment to Madi- 
son Circuit ; and strange to tell, my wife, while I 
was at conference, dreamed that I was sent there ; 



246 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



and the dream was not occasioned by previous 
conversation, or thoughts on the subject. 

Our parting from our friends in Belvidere was 
attended with tender feelings. The conversion 
of two of my children there had endeared to 
them the people and the place ; and " the girls," 
with some older ones, wept while taking the 
parting hands of Christian companions in the 
Sabbath-school and Church-membership. 

I found Madison an agreeable abode, and the 
people kind. I had for my colleague Rev. J. W. 
Barrett, a man of companionable qualities, and of 
pure life and deportment. With him I laboured 
in harmony, and success attended our labours, to 
the glory of God and the salvation of souls. 

The previous year on this circuit had been 
one of prosperity; and unusually so at Green- 
village. At this place the brethren, in the fall, 
wished a protracted meeting to be held. The 
meeting was held, but did not have manifested 
in its object as lively an interest by the people 
as the revival-meeting, in the same place, the 
previous year. A brother was heard to say, " O, if 

brother H [my predecessor] was here, it would 

go ; for he made it go last year !" The next 
evening brother H — — was there with us, and 
preached. As he ascended the pulpit the brother 
was heard to say, "Bless God, I know it will 



INCIDENTS OF ITINERANCY. 



247 



go now. He can make it go, as he did last 
year." The preacher preached and exhorted for 
three successive evenings — but it did not go. 
What of revival can man produce without divine 
agency ? 

In Madison, during the winter, there was a 
gracious outpouring of the Spirit ; and within 
three weeks there were over seventy sinners con- 
verted to God. The power of God was most sig- 
nally displayed in a sudden and thorough work. 
Four sons of four preachers of the gospel were 
made the subjects of saving grace in this revival. 
At this, four preachers, with their families, were 
made greatly to rejoice. My son — the only one 
— was one of the happy number, and then there 
was weeping joy in our family — all my children 
converted to God ! 

At this protracted meeting we had not much 
extra help, the local preachers with the brethren 
in general cooperating with us ; and we all, with 
God, were the chief instruments in this revival. 
And most efficient help was rendered by Rev. C. 
Griswold, of Richmond, Va., who was at the time 
on a visit to his friends in the place. 

This winter our presiding elder, Rev. D. Par- 
ish, in holy triumph, departed for his heavenly 
home on high. The last time I had the pleasure 
of seeing this holy man alive, was at his own 



248 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

house ; and I spent a precious season with him 
in private devotion, little thinking it would be the 
last interview I would be permitted to enjoy with 
him on earth. 

In 1848 the New-Jersey Conference held its 
session in Paterson. Here, at the house of 
brother Chadwick, I roomed with the late Rev. 
V. Shepherd. Brother S. was in a feeble state 
of health ; and for the little attention which I 
was pleased to render to his wants he manifested 
much gratitude. I slept in a separate bed, and 
recollect, in the night seasons, a number of times, 
when he thought, no doubt, all were fast asleep, 
he arose, and kneeled down and prayed with 
much subdued emotion. He said to me one 
day : " I will not live long, I feel it ; but if I 
could again preach, O, I would preach Jesus 
more than ever; for nothing will do for sin- 
ners or preachers but Jesus, and him cru- 
cified !" 

I was returned to Madison without a colleague ; 
our new presiding elder, however, provided for 
the circuit, by procuring a local preacher to 
travel under his direction with me, who had just 
passed through one of the most awful calamities, 
in the destruction by fire of his house, and the 
lives of his wife and three children. 

There were some on this circuit that, because 



INCIDENTS OF ITINERANCY, 



249 



of the books of " Annan ? and " Musgrove," 
which had been circulated among them, were 
prejudiced against the economy of Methodism ; 
and for this reason I had preached on the 
peculiarities of our Church, to disabuse the pub- 
lic mind on the subject. I had been challenged to 
hold a public debate on the question of the govern- 
ment of the Methodist Episcopal Church. I had 
told the bearer of the challenge that my antago- 
nist had nothing in such controversy to lose, and 
I had nothing to gain ; and what I knew and 
had stated about our Church government was, I 
was assured, correct : that the Church property did 
not belong to our bishops, nor to the annual con- 
ferences, nor were they deeded to them. The 
visit of Bishop Janes, and his preaching at 
Madison and Whippany, after what had been 
said of our bishops, had a most salutary influence . 
on the people. 

There was a remarkable case of a dying 
Christian this year, at Whippany, that graciously 
went to illustrate the power of saving grace. 
He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, 
and I visited him a number of times during 
his illness. He said he had been awakened by 
a sermon on, " At evening time it shall be light." 
Zech. xiv, 7. He repeated more than once the 
lines of Heber : — 



250 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

44 Till o'er our ransom 7 d nature 
The Lamb for sinners slain — ■ 

Redeemer, King, Creator — 
In bliss returns to reign." 

And as the lips of the dying man gave utterance 
to these words, with an expression of countenance 
not to be described, I realized a deep meaning 
and beauty in them not before discerned. 

The house of worship in Whippany was this 
year relieved of a debt of several hundred dollars, 
which had rested with a weight upon it for about 
twenty years. 

Near the close of the conference year on this 
circuit, there was an aged lady, a member of our 
Church, who died in great triumph. Near her 
end she was the subject of sore temptations. I 
visited her often, according to her own request, 
and always found her reading the Bible and 
praying. She was so violently assaulted by the 
enemy, that her hope of reaching heaven was 
shaken. I at last told her I did not think her 
fit for the place of devils and the lost, for she 
would be praying and repeating God's word, 
and they would not have her there ; and there 
was no place for her to go when she died but to 
heaven, with Jesus, and all the blessed saints 
who love his word." The temptation was 
shortly broken, and she rejoiced greatly, uttering 



INCIDENTS OF ITINERANCY. 



251 



with her dying breath to her son, " Samuel, do 
all you can for Christ — do all you can for Christ ; 
for he is worthy." 

In the spring of 1849 the conference met in 
Burlington. During the period of its session I 
heard a most excellent sermon by the Eev. J. T. 
Peck, D. D., President of Dickinson College. Here 
I received my appointment to Mariners' Har- 
bour Church, on Staten Island, and an unusual 
sadness fell upon my spirits. I prayed for an in- 
creased disposition to bow to the chastening hand 
of Providence. Mariners' Harbour Church was 
a small appointment of a charge, and the preacher 
had been in that charge two years. The presiding 
elder had been on the district four years, and the 
place, under such circumstances, had been set off 
by itself to become a charge. This I then thought, 
for good reasons, was premature and injudicious, 
and I have not altered my opinion since. I re- 
moved to the place with my family, and stayed 
there one year. We resided on the north shore, 
about a mile from the church, in the house with 
Captain William Vanname, and found him and 
his wife to be noble hearted, generous, and kind ; 
and we lived together in harmony and pleasant- 
ness. And when their sweet little " Anna Maria " 
was taken from them, we felt, and wept, as though 
she had been our own child. 



252 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

This year, to the whole country, was one of 
great gloom. The visitation of the cholera cast 
a sadness over all. Many of our neighbours 
were swept away by it. Some instances of un- 
usual wickedness and temerity then appeared, that 
called down the sudden and fatal stroke. I was 
not well during the whole summer and most of 
the winter. The people were kind, but my ill 
health, loneliness, and the excited state of my 
nerves, depressed me. I had an abiding impres- 
sion, that rested on my mind like an incubus, 
that God had no work for me to do there. 
Sometimes my brethren w 7 ould try to cheer me 
with saying, " You will get your support, you 
need not fear." I replied, " That is the least of 
my trouble. I would not be hired to walk the 
Park or Broadway, in New- York, for three thou- 
sand dollars a year ! ,? During the winter we 
were favoured with some few conversions. 

In 1850, our conference met in Camden. Du- 
ring conference the wife of the stationed preacher 
in the place, Rev. Charles H. Whitecar, died, and 
the funeral sermon was preached in the church 
by the presiding elder, Rev. George F. Brown. 
Here was the conference at which I last saw 
Bishop Hedding. His health was then declin- 
ing, but with what holy resignation ! 

I received my appointment, at this conference, 



INCIDENTS OF ITINERANCY, 253 

to Allentown Circuit, and had for iny colleague 
brother John B. Hill, now a missionary in Cali- 
fornia. On this circuit I soon found friends of the 
right stamp, and things were agreeable to me, 
and I felt that I had a work to do. In my col- 
league I had a fellow-labourer of deep piety, 
ability, and zeal. He was studious, laborious, 
and firm in the cause of his Master ; and storms, 
mud, cold, and snow, were no impediments to 
him in his persevering activity in endeavours to 
win souls to Christ. 

In such company as brother Hill, Rev. R. E. 
Morrison, (superanuated,) living in Hightstown, 
the place of my residence, with the official breth- 
ren and membership on Allentown Circuit, the 
loneliness of my past year was soon forgotten. 
During this year we were favoured with an out- 
pouring of the Spirit, manifested in the professed 
conversion of over seventy sinners. 

At Hightstown we had a shower of mercy, 
and some powerful conversions. Universalism 
has been about this place one of the devil's 
"strongholds." This "refuge of lies" immortal 
souls have sought and trusted in, to the injury 
the immensity of which will not be known until 
seen by the light of the judgment fires. The im- 
pediments and obstructions which this instrument 
of Satan had thrown upon the railroad track of the 



254 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL, 



gospel train I endeavoured to remove, by holding 
it up to be seen in contrast with the unsophisti- 
cated declarations of God's word. The Universal - 
ist preacher came out a number of times and listen- 
ed to my plain manner of treating the subject. 
Many of the Universalists in the place are of 
worldly respectability, and, as to dealings with 
their fellow-men, are just and honourable. Were 
they as faithful in the true belief and practice of 
the doctrines and precepts of the word of God, 
they would do well enough. One of them during 
the revival left the meeting one evening before 
its close, and said, in the hearing of my inform- 
ant, that he guessed Scarlett would make out to 
get along now, since the devil (meaning himself) 
had left the church. He, with a number of 
others that attended the meeting, died shortly 
after, as they had lived. 

While on this circuit I became acquainted with 
the Kev. Robert Hutchinson, now nearly ninety 
years of age. He told me he had travelled with 
Benjamin Abbott, and has his retentive memory 
stored with many an incident illustrative of 
Methodism, in its introduction into this State. 
His eyesight has nearly failed him, but his 
mental faculties are remarkably preserved. He 
is most entertaining company, being possessed of 
extensive information and agreeable manners. 



INCIDENTS OF ITINERANCY. 



255 



In the spring of 1851 conference met in 
Jersey City. Here I saw that great and good 
man, the late Rev. Stephen Olin, D, D., for the 
last time. I was returned to Allentown Circuit, 
with brother E. W. Adams for my colleague. 
Following so popular a preacher as brother Hill, 
it was at first feared that brother Adams would 
not be able to sustain himself with as much credit 
as was desirable, but the young man proved him- 
self to be studious, zealous, laborious, and useful. 
His piety and prudence out of the pulpit were 
equalled by soundness of doctrine, good arrange- 
ment, with force and ease of delivery in the pulpit. 

About one hundred souls were converted on 
the circuit this year. At Hightstown we ex- 
perienced one of the greatest revivals ever known 
in the place. About the 20th of January we 
commenced a meeting, which was protracted 
some eight weeks. In the commencement we 
gave no quarter to Universalism, but held' up this 
fortification of carnal security to the scorn and 
contempt of all honest Christians. We showed 
its conflicting character with the word of God, 
and with Christian experience ; and that this dis- 
ease of the understanding, this gangrene of the 
heart, this soul-scurvy, has no redeeming quali- 
ties. We did not waste our time in offering ar- 
guments to prove, in all probability, that the im- 



256 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



penitents, after death, would " go away into ever- 
lasting punishment." * We merely proclaimed 
what is revealed on the subject, and denounced 
the wickedness of opposing divine revelation. 

In this revival there were about ninety conver- 
sions, nearly eighty of which number united them- 
selves with our Church in the village. The work 
was characterized by deep and powerful convic- 
tions, violent stragglings, and audible and ago- 
nizing cries, while at the altar for prayers, sudden 
conversions, with overwhelming emotions ! There 
was noise made by the young converts, and 
among the members of the Church. There was 
crying, and shouting, and some clapping of hands, 
and jumping ; and yet no " wild-fire" as far as 
I could tell. Bodily strength, in some instances, 
gave way, and sister Morrison, wife of Rev. R. 
E. Morrison, had to nurse a number of female 
converts that were prostrated by the power of 
God, until they could shout " Glory !" She is a 
woman of such good sense that she had no objec- 
tion to the Lord's working in this way. I called 
her " a nursing mother in Israel." God's work 
in this manner was carried on — in no wise agree- 
ably to the dictates of worldly prudence or policy. 

Some Universalists were converted. One of 
them, a respectable young man, after conversion, 
acknowledged that his conviction was received 



INCIDENTS OF ITINERANCY. 25 7 

while hearing a funeral sermon preached by Rev. 
J. K. Shaw, our presiding elder, in which sermon 
the elder had clearly set forth, " that dying, al- 
though gain to the Christian, was not gain to the 
impenitent" He stated also, that on leaving the 
church after hearing the sermon, an intelligent 
young man of some amiable qualities, walking 
with him, said, " We have most certainly been 
listening to the truth this afternoon, and we would 
do very well if it were not for these Universalists, 
who put the devil in our heads !" Now, this 
young man, who was so conscious of the truth 
when our young convert was first convicted, has 
passed through that revival, and is now a stronger 
Universalist than ever, from the resistance he has 
offered to the strivings of the Spirit. " He that 
hardeneth his neck shall be destroyed." 

My colleague, brother Adams, was of great 
service in our meetings, being a good singer, and 
ready and fluent in exhortation and prayer. 
And in his preaching there was unity of thought, 
naturalness in arrangement, and clearness, with 
force in manner, language, and delivery. And 
the best of all, there was soundness of doctrine, 
not shunning to declare the whole counsel of God. 
There were some complainings among the Uni- 
versalists that I had spoiled him— that he was 
now almost as bad as myself. 

17 



258 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



Rev. R. E. Morrison (superannuated) was in our 
meetings nearly every evening, and sanctioned the 
manner in which the truth of God was held 
forth by the preacher in charge and his colleague ; 
and although weak in lungs, he a number of 
times during the meetings, under the powerful 
influence of the Spirit, levelled gospel thunder 
against the devil's strongholds, with an energy that 
astonished those that heard him. What wonder- 
ful effect the Holy Spirit can have on a remnant 
of frail, worn-out humanity ! " The wind bloweth 
where it listeth." 

In 1852, April 7th, the New-Jersey Conference 
met in Trenton. Bishop Janes presided ; and 
from fatiguing toil the bishop looked worn and 
feeble. During this session we received the in- 
telligence that Bishop Hedding had departed this 
life in great triumph, in certain hope of a blissful 
immortality. I received my appointment to Red 
Bank Station, where I am now, pleasantly situ- 
ated in a good parsonage, and among a kind 
people. May the Lord send us prosperity in his 
holy cause, for Jesus' sake. 

I have now travelled eleven years in the Meth- 
odist itinerancy. I have had temptations and 
trials. I have had severities and hardships, but 
I would still rather be a Methodist preacher than 
anything else on earth. The pleasure of the 



INCIDENTS OF ITINERANCY. 



259 



Lord still abides with me, and I have delightful 
seasons, I am passing down the declivity of 
years, having doubtless passed over the_ summit 
of my earthly career. How long I may yet be 
permitted to travel before I fall, or where my 
body shall find a spot of earthly repose when my 
heart ceases to throb, is to me of little conse- 
quence, so long as I shall make full proof of my 
ministry, and be prepared to keep company with 
the blood-washed and shining orders, and see 
Jesus after I shall have passed through my grave- 
slumber, the general conflagration, and the judg- 
ment scenes. 



260 



THE CONVERTED 1 INFIDEL. 



CHAPTER XIII, 

CONCLUDING REMARKS. 

Christianity in earnest.— Chalmees. 

In the remembrance of what I experienced while 
a child, and what I have witnessed, since " man- 
hood's prime," in children — especially connected 
with Sabbath schools — in addition to injunctions 
and invitations found in the Holy Scriptures, I 
have long been decided in my opinion that 
children are, generally, in this Christian land, 
the subjects of spiritual operations. To this im- 
portant matter Christian parents and the Church 
are not sufficiently awake. Children, although 
they are more spiritually cared for than formerly, 
are, nevertheless, too much neglected. They 
often feel powerful strivings of the Spirit, and, not 
sympathized with or instructed, they take the 
indifference of those who have the charge of 
them to be an evidence that their feelings on 
religion are nothing but childish nonsense ; and 
they tli us are left to go down into spiritual dark- 
ness and discouragement, until they sin away 
their early convictions, and become hardened in 
sin, — when, with proper care, nine times out of 



CONCLUDING REMARKS. 



261 



ten, they might be trained to grow up happy 
Christians and useful members of society. There 
is much darkness on this subject even among 
many good members of the Church. Too much 
of atheistic "chance" still reigns among us. 
Christians may, and should, train up their chil- 
dren "in the way they should go," and when old, 
they, as a general rule, would not depart from 
that way. If infidelity, in regard to the " exceed- 
ing great and precious promises," were driven 
out of the Church, how many children would 
soon be soundly converted ! And converted 
children, with proper care, are no more liable to 
backslide than persons of mature age, although 
their backsliding might sooner be discovered than 
that of older Christians. Children ought to be 
acknowledged by Christian parents as being of 
Christ's kingdom ; and although they cannot 
theologically understand the doctrines of grace, 
they can be kept by the power of God, notwith- 
standing. Must an infant be kept from its 
mother's breast until it can analyze and explain 
the nature of the nourishment that is designed 
for it from this source ? Cannot a child love its 
parents before it can philosophically define love ? 
Cannot children love God as well as their parents ? 
Instances of such experience there have been in 
every age, that go to prove the truths of revela- 



262 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

tion, and leave parents without excuse for leav- 
ing their children at the hazard of adventitious 
circumstances, and not training them up for God, 
" in the way they should go." 

I am also, from what I have learned of the 
ways of God in my experience and labours as an 
itinerant preacher, pressed into the conclusion 
that the people of God in the Church, with the 
ministry, are more immediately required to be 
witnesses for Christ than pleaders of his cause. 
I do not mean that commentaries and expositions, 
in reference to obscure portions of Scripture by 
learned men, are not necessary. I believe the 
Church "has need 57 of sanctified learning, and 
God will supply every want ; but experience is 
the central point in religion. Fire-producing, all 
heat comes from it to the Church; and woe 
to that branch of the Church where this fire 
is not seen nor felt. There is another kind of 
fire reserved for dry branches ! No testimony 
is stronger or more easily understood than ex- 
perimental testimony. " Ye are my witnesses," 
says Jesus. A batch of mere religious theorists 
may appear quite a fine affair to the world ; but 
who among God's enlightened children cannot 
see, at once, that such an association is nothing 
more than a a whited sepulchre, full of rottenness 
and dead men's bones ?" Spiritual testimony, 



CONCLUDING REMARKS. 



263 



in an inextinguishable flame, must burn in the 
Church. By the " words " of living testimony 
the followers of salvation's Captain must "pre- 
vail" over their combined foes. Like rivers of 
living water, it must be poured out from the pul- 
pit. It is this that revives and gladdens the 
believing heart in times of class-meetings 
and love-feasts ; and without which such meet- 
ings will lose all their attractiveness and pe- 
culiarity, for which they were originally insti- 
tuted. This testimony of the lips must of course 
be from the heart. It is to go with faith, as far 
as the work of the Spirit extends, and give vent 
to the breathings of eternal life, as that life ap- 
pears in regeneration, justification, and sanctifica- 
tion. The " oil " of grace within the heart must, 
like oil within a burning lamp, shine without, 
"to give light to all within the house." 

This witnessing for Jesus, " who saves his 
people from their sins," by believers, has been a 
characteristic peculiarity of the Methodists, who 
from the first have adhered to this particular in 
their writings, as well as in oral testimony ; and 
the brightest ornaments of the Church have 
had their progress toward the highest mark in 
Christian perfection signally marked by the 
testimony they have uttered in their spiritual 
advances. Those, therefore, who may aim in 



264 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



their religious efforts at having carried on in 
their hearts a concealed work of grace, will ever 
be baffled in effecting their object. " Arise, 
shine ; for thy light is come." 

From facts which have received some attention 
in the foregoing chapters, I cannot avoid the 
conclusion that Methodism is a Church form of 
godliness, with a power the nearest in resem- 
blance to primitive Christianity of any other in 
modern times. Methodism is a system con- 
sitent with itself, and consistent with the Bible ; 
is suitable to the universal wants of mankind ; 
and harmonizes in every part with Christian ex- 
perience. Its true definition is its best recom- 
mendation ; and the less it is departed from, by 
those within its fold, the better for them, and the 
world around them, and other Churches; and 
the more will God be glorified by their adherence 
to its original forms. Methodism could not be 
improved by exchanging any of its peculiarities 
for those of other Churches. 

In the distinctive doctrines of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church we see something that " com- 
mends itself to every man's conscience in the 
sight of God." These doctrines are : — 

The necessity and universality of the atone- 
ment made by the sacrificial death and sufferings 
of Jesus Christ. 



CONCLUDING REMARKS. 



265 



The free moral agency of man, by free and 
universal grace given. 

The justification of the ungodly by faith, ex- 
clusively and immediately. 

The direct witness of the Spirit of God with 
our spirits. 

The entire sanctification of the soul from all sin. 
The liability constantly to fall from grace, and 
be lost. 

These doctrines Methodism has armed itself 
with from the beginning. They have been drawn 
from the armory of God — the Bible — and wielded 
with success. And in holding these doctrines 
there has appeared in them nothing that clashes, 
but perfectly harmonizes on all occasions. In 
Methodism there is not held any secret doctrine — 
which none but the elect are to meddle with — to 
be brought forward on certain occasions only, and 
then to be kept behind the curtain, while other 
doctrines more suitable for general use are dwelt 
upon, until the special occasion again returns. 
Methodism embraces nothing in doctrine that is 
not useful and proper, even in times of revival. 
Yea, revival is promoted by these doctrines, every 
one of them. And when sinners are converted 
through them, there is no need of labouring with 
them until they are nearly deranged, to get them 
to submit to what appears fallacious and paradox- 



266 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



ical ; but our doctrines are, in every step they 
take, identified with their experience. 

The doctrines held by other denominations 
that are found to disagree with those of Method- 
ism, have never had, evidently, a good effect upon 
those believing them. Persons entertaining doc- 
trines antagonistical to ours, have been led by 
zeal in their cause to write books concerning 
Methodism, that " savoured not the things that be 
of God." They have apparently taken more 
pleasure in making statements against the influ- 
ence of Methodism, than in spreading holiness. 
While others, again, have thought it necessary 
to assume the grounds of Methodist doctrines, 
and of Methodist forms, in order to the revival of 
God's work among them. But when Methodists 
have assumed the doctrines and forms of other 
denominations, have they succeeded as well? 
These remarks are made not to offend any, but 
to give the mind of the reader, if possible, a clear- 
ness of view of the more excellent way. The 
more Methodism is truly exposed to view, the 
more will it prosper ; and any system of doc- 
trine, in any Church, that requires secrecy to 
maintain it, the sooner it is driven from the 
Church, and buried in oblivion, the better. 

The itinerant ministry is another peculiarity 
of Methodism, that has been exhibited quite large- 



CONCLUDING REMARKS. 



267 



ly in the world. This ministry has shown its 
credentials to be of the true evangelical stamp. 
Its preaching has been in the demonstration of 
the Spirit and of power. It has not, thus far, 
been tongue-tied to written sermons, to be read in 
coldness to an unmoved body of hearers. It has 
been free in truth, in tong'ue, and in travelling. 
It has not been bound by word nor by wages. 

The preaching of the Methodist itinerant min- 
istry has been the means of a work resembling 
that on the day of Pentecost, more than any other 
form of gospel preaching since apostolic days. 
By it devils have been cast out, and most wonder- 
ful reformations have taken place. The greatest 
revival of pure religion in the world has been 
brought about by it : thousands and millions of 
sinners, the century last past, has it succeeded in 
turning to the " wisdom of the just." 

This ministry is a body of self-denying men. 
Leaving, on true missionary principles, a per- 
manent home, relatives, friends, and pleasant 
associations, for hardships, trusting in Provi- 
dence, they " go forth weeping, bearing precious 
seed," that they may " win souls " to deck their 
Redeemer's crown. 

This ministry is supported by voluntary con- 
tributions, without the preacher's having a claim 
on the people by previous written agreement. 



268 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



This plan works well both ways : on the preacher 
it has a tendency to exercise his faith in God, 
and to lead him to desire to be useful to the peo- 
ple, from heavenly motives ; on the part of the 
people it is calculated to draw their benevolent 
feelings into voluntary exercise, to the mutual 
benefit of the preacher they support, and their 
own hearts. 

This ministry has its starting place, under God, 
from among the people in the Church, and 
through their votes in class-meetings and in quar- 
terly conferences. No ministry is less foreign 
from the people, and less liable to be considered 
oppressive to them, than that of Methodism. 

Methodism, in its government and discipline, is 
just what its doctrines and free itinerant ministry 
lead to. They must all go together, or fall to- 
gether. 

The influence that Methodism, as it is, in all 
its parts, exerts, is beyond what can now be ac- 
curately defined. We are not to look for the 
effects of this influence within merely its own 
bounds. Other Churches are now what they 
would not have been, in piety and power, had 
Methodism never appeared. Methodism has to 
them been a battery, from which they have re- 
ceived light and fire. This should be a matter 
of rejoicing to Methodists, and all Christians. 



CONCLUDING REMARKS. 



269 



We receive blessings to give blessings away. 
And what Methodism lias done for civilization it 
is impossible for us to estimate. Yet we have 
good reason to believe that these United States 
are much indebted, under God, to Methodism, for 
their superior greatness over other nations. In 
this respect Methodism is a responsible body. 
The union of these United States is much within 
the influence of Methodism. May God preserve 
both long to bless mankind, is the prayer of every 
true Methodist and American. 

The position occupied by Methodism is thus 
seen to be indeed a peculiar one. All the 
" branches M of the Christian Church are not 
exactly — in freshness, vigour, and fruitfulness — 
alike, although of the same " Vine." They are 
not alike in affording favourable opportunities 
and gracious means in order to the salvation of 
sinners, and to " make their calling and election 
sure;" and it would be profitable to give our 
meditation in prayer for light on the subject. 

The origin of Methodism, and the circumstances 
connected with it at the time, mark it also as a 
peculiar system, unlike the institutions that have 
originated with man. Divine power and wisdom 
were displayed in starting this sublime development 
of Christianity, as well as sustaining it in the after 
progress it has made. This is clear from the 



270 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL* 



fact that the instruments in its origin had no idea 
of what was about to take place through them. 
They looked with astonishment on the " strange " 
work that God was accomplishing through 
them. They wondered and trembled at seeing, 
through the word they preached, by the Spirit 
imparted to them, men and women falling down 
like the slain in battle, crying, " Men and brethren, 
what shall we do V until evidently created anew 
in Christ Jesus unto good works. They kept in 
their journals a statement of facts of these mighty 
doings of God, in order at proper times to meet 
together and consult on their probable duty in 
the work, and to pray for aid and direction. And 
when preachers from the ranks of the common 
people, and often unlearned, were suddenly quali- 
fied and called, and made good proof of their 
ministry, they were about to stop them, and 
dared not, " for God was with them of a truth." 
The form of doctrine, the mould of government, 
discipline, and usages, came upon them unlooked- 
for and without human forethought. The work 
of the Spirit moved them into forms of class- 
meetings and love-feasts. The same principles 
led out into the itinerancy, and other forms in 
Methodism ; and all manifestly through the divine 
agency, as far at least as the main principles are 
concerned. 



CONCLUDING REMARKS, 



271 



The instruments of the origin of Methodism 
present the same peculiar features as accord with 
the whole system. In John Wesley we see a 
chosen vessel, and a leader of God's Israel. 
Such a leader and minister was this great man, 
as was eminently qualified by the great Head 
of the Church, to do what no other man on 
earth could have done, — such a work as was 
most peculiarly needed at the time. 

In Charles Wesley we see, also, a much need- 
ed, gifted child of song — a sweet singer in this 
Israel. Suited, every way, to the wants of early 
Methodism, his place could not have been sup- 
plied by another. 

In the clear-headed and loving-hearted Fletch- 
er, we may behold one raised up evidently to de- 
fend, as an evangelical polemic, the doctrines of 
Methodism, and the vilely- assailed character of 
its patient and laborious founder. Never has a 
controversialist wielded so powerful a pen, — so 
keen-pointed and piercing, and yet so impelled 
by heart-warming principles of divine love. Never 
was one more fitted for his day and generation, 
in uncovering errors held by Christians, and giv- 
ing a checks " to the injurious tendencies of " An- 
tinomianism." Never lived man more pure, more 
happy, nor died more triumphant and lamented, 
than the sainted Fletcher. 



272 THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 

Methodism, from the time of its origin to the 
present, has presented a universal adaptedness to 
all the wants of all classes, and conditions, and 
circumstances of men ; and it embraces within 
its fold more variety of persons — in capacities, 
gifts, and versatile powers — than any other de- 
nomination. It is itself a field for the exercise 
of all the vast variety of powers and capacities of 
those within its wide embrace, supplying from its 
immense resources employment for all its mem- 
bers. In the class-meeting, love-feast, and prayer- 
meeting — those prudential means of grace — there 
are opportunities afforded for the exercise of every 
grade of capacity, to the edification of the body 
of Christ ; and all the children of God, in order 
to spiritual experience and strength, must have, 
in some personally active way, " the gift stirred 
up that is within them." Methodism is, there- 
fore, a system of gospel model, giving to every 
member a suitable place of usefulness within its 
communion. In it the poor, especially, have the 
gospel preached to them. And it is equally suit- 
able to the rich : it opens a field of enterprise for 
their money. It is adapted to the ignorant; 
and many of this class, ready to perish, have been 
raised by it out of degradation to respectability 
and salvation. And the learned have enough to 
do within its pale; neither have they been 



COJSCLUDING REMARKS. 



273 



cramped in their energies and acquired abilities 
through misgivings in reference to any of its 
peculiarities : and, blessed be God, he has afford- 
ed the Methodist Church as much sanctified 
learning as any other Church. It should be a 
matter of thankfulness, that while the common 
people and the illiterate are provided for among 
us, we have as learned Methodists as there are 'in 
all probability, learned ones to be found in any 
other class. So that in our Zion every variety 
of aspect in human want is fully met, and every 
individual peculiarity, like the many parts of a 
complicated machine, is brought into particular 
utility with the general whole, in active useful- 
ness for time and eternity. 

In the probable consequences of Methodism 
flowing to future generations, there is a vast field 
thrown open. In prospect it is as mysterious 
and wonderful as it has been in the past. It 
will probably lose some of its less important 
features, but its doctrines and main principles, so 
manifestly from God, are of self- sub sis ting energy ; 
and these will hold their place in the system 
until it shall reach the goal of time, the renovated 
earth and skies taking the place of the present 
mundane scene. 

The kingdom of Christ " must increase " with 
the progress of constantly advancing time. This 
18 



274 



THE CONVERTED INFIDEL. 



increase will be in a clearer and fuller develop- 
ment of all the essential principles of salvation, 
manifested perpetually to Christ's believing 
Church, and the augmentation of saving power 
exerted upon the world, until " a nation shall be 
born in a day." Christ's kingdom cannot stand 
still nor retrograde. The advancement made by 
the* Church is the passing through scenes peculiar 
to its probation, which scenes of difficulties and 
impediments, peculiar to their own times and 
places, can never occur but once. In this onward 
march a period will come in which the Church 
shall have met and conquered every foe, and re- 
moved the covering of every obstacle. " Then 
cometh the end." 



THE END. 



m — © 

BOOKS PUBLISHED FOR THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION 
OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 



Crusades, the. 

The Crusades. 

18mo., pp. 224. Muslin SO 25 

I know of no small work which presents so concise and yet 
so complete a view of those wonderful expeditions called 
the Crusades, as this. It is well written, and is full of at- 
tractions. — Rev. Daniel Wise. 

The above is an American reprint of a well-written English 
work. The subject is one of great interest, and we cordially 
recommend the purchase and perusal of this little book to 
our young friends. — Richmond Christian Advocate. 



Cyrus, Life of. 

The Life of Cyrus. 

18mo., pp. 185. Muslin SO 25 

Nothing can surpass the elegance of the language in which 
the "Life of Cyrus" is given to us in this volume; and 
when we consider the number of ... . rare authorities 
which must have been consulted in order to render the 
memoir one of value and weight, it is only to be wondered 
at how so much research, judgment, historical accuracy, 
and eloquence, could be expended on the materials of a 
volume of so low a price. . . . The advanced scholar need not 
be ashamed of having this book on his table. — Christian 
Advocate and Journal. 



Dark Ages, Glimpses of the. 

Glimpses of the Dark Ages ; or, Sketches of the Social 
Condition of Europe, from the Fifth to the Twelfth 
Century. 

18mo., pp. 219. Muslin $0 25 

"Glimpses of the Dark Ages*' bespeaks a mind well read in 
matters pertaining to ecclesiastical antiquity, and is pecu- 
liarly adapted to these times. We have read every section 
of it with deep interest. — Chr. Adv. and Jour. 

This book treats upon an important and interesting theme. It 
is well written. — Editor's Pi-eface. 

*#* Attention is particularly requested to the new Classified and Descriptive 
Catalogue of Books, Tracts, &c, published for the M. E. Church, which can 
be readily obtained from the Agents, Messrs. Lane & Scott, No. 200 Mul- 
berry-street, New-York, or from Messrs. Swormstedt & Power, corner of Main 
and Eighth-streets, Cincinnati. 

g . ____ 



m 

BOOKS PUBLISHED FOR THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION 
OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 



Granada. 

Granada : or, the Expulsion of the Moors from Spain. 
By George Cubit t. 

18mo., pp. 164. Muslin $0 25 

This book is prepared with fidelity and ability, . . . and is ex- 
cellent for a library. — Sunday-School Visitor. 

This is a brief and comprehensive presentation of a history 
replete with stirring events and romantic incidents. Truth 
is here stranger than fiction. — Richmond CJiristian Advocate. 

Half Hours with Old Humphrey. 

Half Hours with Old Humphrey. 

1;2hio., pp. 278. Muslin SO 45 

This is in Old Humphrey's best style, pithy, lively, and instruc- 
tive. — Church of England Sunday-School Quarterly Mag. 

Comprised in this volume we have sterling advice, pious ad- 
monitions, the faithful exhortations of a wide experience, 
and interesting anecdotes and sketches. — Christian Advo- 
cate and Journal. 

A beautiful volume .... for Sunday-school teachers. It con- 
tains .... articles on various topics, . . . quaint, hitting, and 
practical. — Sunday-School Visitor. 

Old Humphrey is a favorite with the religious reading pub- 
lic ; this volume comprises some of his best specimens. — 
Zion's Herald. 

lona, the Druids' Isle. 

Iona, the Druids' Isle, and its successive Inhabitants. 
By Rev. W. Lixdsay Alexander, D. D., Fellow of the 
Society of Scottish Antiquaries. 

18mo., pp. 159. Muslin $0 25 

It is the design of this book to unfold the history of one of the 
smallest of the British isles, which, many ages back, w T as 
the scene of some of the most important events in the early 
Church history of this and adjoining countries, and the seat 
of civilization and religion. — London Tract Magazine. 

It is a book concealing within its plain and unpretending 
covers, much that is worthy the attention of the student 
of the history of great changes, or of him who delights to 
trace the finger of God in the affairs of men. — Episcopal Re- 
corder. 



BOOKS PUBLISHED FOR THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION 
OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 



Hadassah. 

Had assah : or, the Adopted Child. 

18mo., pp. 112. Muslin SO 20 

Adoption into the family of God, illustrated by the history of 
a little orphan girl, adopted by an earthly father. The book 
contains a number of useful lessons both to children and 
parents. Many hints are thrown out concerning the true 
principles of family government. — Western Christian Adv. 

This volume is remarkably well written. ... Its style may 
be denominated that of constant application. — Descriptive 
Catalogue. 



Good Health. 

Good Health : the Possibility, Duty, and Means of Obtain- 
ing and Keeping it. 

18mo., pp. 214. Muslin SO 25 

"With many, and indeed I might say, with most of its remarks 
on the means of preserving health, I am much pleased, and 
can cordially recommend them to our readers. — Rev. Na- 
than Bangs, D. D. 

Interesting topics are treated in a popular manner, and not 
in the form of a set of dry precepts and cautions. . . . The 
author is an experienced medical gentleman, whose state- 
ments deserve the utmost consideration. — London Visitor. 

This is a most valuable work.— Sunday- School Visitor. 

It not only tells us what to do, and what not to do, but also 
gives the reasons for both.— Christian Advocate and Jour. 



Fuh-Chau, Notices of. 

Notices of Fuh-Chau, and the other open Ports of China, 
with Reference to Missionary Operations. With Ap- 
pendix and Illustrations. 

18nio., pp. 256. Muslin SO 25 

Tho object of the present volume is to form a brief manual of 
all the authentic information now accessible respecting the 

city of Fuh-Chau That sketch, brief as it is, will enable 

the reader to form something like a definite idea of the actual 
field open at the present time to missionary efforts in behalf 
of the Chinese.— Editor's deface. 
®_ . — ||j 



BOOKS PUBLISHED FOR THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION 
OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 



Mirage of Life. 

The Mirage of Life. 

18mo., pp. 180. Muslin 



SO 25 



The vanity and misery of a life spent in pleasure and in for- 
getfulness of God are set off with admirable effect in the 
personal history of men who have lived only for the life 
that now is, unmindful of that which is to come. — Rich- 
mond Cliristian Advocate. 

The curious optical illusion of the desert, so often described 
by travelers, is ingeniously made to illustrate the various 
deceptions which entice man from true happiness during 
the journey of life, and also to show the fading nature of all 
earthly things. — London Child's Companion. 

The illusiveness of the world set forth in a number of preg- 
nant examples. — Sunday-School Visitor, 



Moham?ned ) Life of. 

The Life of Mohammed. 



The history of a most remarkable man is here given with 
a conscientious regard to truth; and it is believed more 
information respecting the life of the Arabian impostor, 
and of Islamism, will be found in these pages than any- 
where else in the same compass.— Christian Advocate and 
Journal. 

Probably so large an amount of well-digested materials con- 
cerning the life and times of Mohammed was never before 
published in so small a compass.— Descriptive Catalogue. 

Wonders of the Deep. 

Wonders of the Deep : containing " The Sea-Star," 
"The Lobster," "The Coral-Maker," "The Fish." 
With numerous engravings. 



Who that has ever seen the mighty ocean has not desired to 
know something of its inhabitants? In these works the 
reader will not be tired with prolixity, nor puzzled with 
technicalities. The subjects are made plain to his under- 
standing by familiar language Such volumes will for- 
ever fortify the youth against the approaches of infidelity. 
— Descriptive Catalogue. 



18mo., pp. 184- Muslin 



$0 25 



18mo., pp. 147. Muslin 



SO 25 



8 — — & 

BOOKS PUBLISHED FOR TIIE SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION 
OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 



My Youthful Days. 

My Youthful Days. An Authentic Narrative. By Rev. 
George CoLES^late Assistant Editor of the Christian 
Advocate and Journal, Author of "Lectures to Chil- 
I dren," etc. 

18mo., pp. 267. Muslin SO 30 

This is an interesting autobiography. ... It traces the history 
of the author from his early boyhood, to his arrival in this 
country, and his entrance upon the itinerant ministry. It 
is written in a clear, transparent style, and is sufficiently 
filled with incident to make it a most interesting book. It 
will be a valuable addition to the Sunday-school library. — 
Christian Advocate and Journal. 

The excellent author of this work is well known throughout 
the Church .... as a writer of books, especially adapted 
to the youthful mind. . . . Mr. Coles was born in England, 
and his account of his early home, of the village sports of 
England, of the Church service, and of Methodism in Eng- 
land, is full of interest. The concluding chapters give a 
graphic account of his voyage of emigration to America. 
We commend the book not only to the young, but to all 
readers, as an entertaining and instructive narrative.— 
Methodist Quarterly Review. 

Nature s Wonders. 

Nature's W onders ; or, God's Care over all His "Works. 
With numerous engravings. By the Author of " Peeps 
at Nature." 

18mo., pp. 228. Muslin $0 25 

The chapter headings of this volume will show the character 
of its interesting contents : — The rural concert, or nature's 
sounds; April weather, or nature's variety ; gathering the 
fragments, or nature's stores; the peacock's feather, or 
nature's elegance; yearly travelers, or migration; winter 
quarters, or hibernation, &c, &c. — London Visitor. 

It will be an acceptable present.— London Child's Companion. 

Of a better class of books, . . . containing illustrations of na- 
tural objects and descriptions in easy dialogue, admirably 
adapted to interest young children. — Methodist Quarterly 
Review. 

We recommend it as most suitable for Sabbath-school libra- 
ries, and for young people generally —Scottish Sabbath- 
School Teacher's Magazine. 

®~ — . . ~ & 



r - — ; — - — 

BOOKS PUBLISHED FOR THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION 
OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 



Jordan and the Dead Sea. 

The Jordan and the Dead Sea. 

18mo., pp. 215. Muslin . - $0 25 

It will be found to contain many interesting particulars of a 
region in which Christians can never cease to feel a deep and 
lively interest. — London Visitor. 

In it is given an entertaining account of the Valley of the 
Jordan, with its waters and neighboring mountains, from 
the latest and best authorities. — Zion's Herald. 

It will scarcely fail to lead the youthful student to seek for 
fuller information in larger works. — Richmond Christian 
Advocate. 

A neat little book. ... A good library book. — Sunday-School 
Visitor. 



Leo the Tenth, Life and Times of. 

The Life and Times of Leo the Tenth. 

18ino., pp. 222. Muslin SO 25 

A well- written record of one of the most remarkable person- 
ages of the fifteenth century, whose actions were intimately 
connected with the progress of national history, science, 
and religion. It is full of events of stirring interest. — Lon- 
don Child's Companion. 

An excellent library-book for the older scholars.— Sunday- 
School Visitor. 

In this little volume we have an admirable summary of the 
leading events in the history of the celebrated .... Leo X., 
. . . and others of the famous and infamous men of those 
days. — Christian Advocate and Journal. 



Lessons of a Disciple. 

Lessons of a Disciple ; or, Chapters in the Life of a 
Young Lady. 

18mo., pp. 103. Muslin SO 20 

The lessons .... described in this volume, are well adapted 
to the instruction of young Christians generally. ... Its 
style is simple and inviting, while its spirit is sweet and 
heavenly. — Editor's Preface. 

It points out. by happy examples, the proper discharge of 
every-day duties. — Descriptive Catalogue. 
& _ . ® 



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